In 2011, the most recent yr for which we now have statistics, 11 million Individuals hunted deer. That very same yr, solely 500,000 U.S. hunters pursued black bears, regardless of burgeoning populations of the sport animal, liberal looking rules, and comparatively little competitors in both spring or fall black bear seasons. Perhaps it’s our collective fetish with antlers, or a widespread notion that bears aren’t sport animals or aren’t worthy desk fare, however listed below are six causes you need to contemplate looking black bears this yr.
1. Bears are iconic. Their enamel, claws, energy, and resolve to outlive symbolize our huge and rugged continent. Black bears have the widest pure geographic distribution of any North American big-game animal apart from the mountain lion. Initially, black bears occurred in additional locations than even whitetail deer.
2. Bears are considerable. Biologists consider there are extra black bears now than earlier than European settlement. Conservative estimates peg the continental bear inhabitants at 800,000, in comparison with the pre-settlement variety of 500,000.
three. Looking alternative abounds. States and provinces supply extra alternatives to hunt black bears now than at any time within the final technology. Contemplate that within the 1950s, fewer than 100 bears roamed New Jersey. In 2010, the Backyard State reopened its looking season for bears to manage a burgeoning inhabitants of greater than three,000. Bears have been sighted in each New Jersey county, even though the state has the best human inhabitants density in the US. Bears from Virginia and West Virginia have recolonized japanese Kentucky after an absence of greater than 100 years. The Bluegrass State now has a looking season in 16 counties. Within the 1970s, Florida had between 300 and 500 black bears. The traditional swamps of the Sunshine State now maintain greater than four,000 bears. Oklahoma opened its first bear season in 2009, and Sooner State hunters have killed 40 to 80 annually since. Breeding populations of black bears exist from southern Missouri to northern Louisiana.
four. Seasons are underutilized. Many areas have liberal bear seasons and are basically begging for individuals to return hunt bears. Idaho has each spring and fall seasons, and in lots of zones hunters can purchase two tags over-the-counter. In Alaska’s many black bear zones, the looking season by no means closes, and every hunter can take as much as 5 bears (Zone 19). Georgia isn’t broadly identified for bear looking, however the Peach State has a two-bear, over-the-counter fall hunt.
5. Bear looking is difficult and rewarding. What different big-game animal are you able to hunt by way of the spring and likewise within the fall? Reply: none. Looking strategies are as various because the areas bears inhabit. You’ll be able to spot-and-stalk, still-hunt, hunt over bait, pursue them with hounds, and drive cowl in lots of states.
6. Bear meat is tasty. Eighty-five p.c of a black bear’s eating regimen is vegetation. A lot of the remaining 15 p.c is protein within the type of bugs. This isn’t a lot totally different from a wild turkey’s eating regimen, and it interprets into great-tasting meat. Attempt slow-smoking all of the totally different cuts and also you’ll be pleasantly stunned with bear meat’s beef-like texture and style. Black bear meat is actually a conventional American dish. Shock and dazzle your dinner friends this fall with one thing they’ve possible by no means had—Ursus americanus. However you’ll must get one first. And throughout America, there isn’t a scarcity of alternative.