BATON ROUGE, LA. (BRPROUD) — After being on the threatened species list, the Louisiana black bear will once again be hunted. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has announced a 16-day lottery hunting season for black bears in Louisiana, the first such hunting season since 1987.
In 1992, the black bear was put on the threatened species list, with less than 400 black bears in the state of Louisiana. In 2015, it was announced that the population rose to 1,212 bears, taking them off the threatened species list.
In the last couple of years, black bears have been seen around the capital area, from north Baton Rouge, Port Allen and in the Feliciana parishes.
According to John Hanks, the manager of the Large Carnivore Program for the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, the bears have been a problem for some, tearing up property with people fearing for their safety, and the safety of the 300- to 600-pound adult black bears.
“The population grows, you do have more conflict,” says Hanks. “Because the closer you are to bears and there are people are together, the more conflict you are going to have.”
Hanks said many people in the state like to hunt the food they put on the table. He says a black bear can provide 200 servings of meat for a family of four.
The 16-day hunting season is only for Louisiana residents who have the proper hunting license. A random computer-based program will then choose the hunters, providing them with a tag.
“So, only 10 people will get to hunt,” says Hanks. “It will be: you enter the lottery, and if you are drawn and you are successful, then you will have that tag.”
Hanks says where they can hunt depends on the type of tag the hunters are awarded.
“They are only going to be 10 combined, off all the different tags,” says Hanks. “You have the public land tags, the general tags, or the landowner tags, all combined.”
No hunter can shoot a female with her cubs, or a bear cub under 75 pounds. For now, hunting will be limited to the northeast part of the Louisiana. This includes areas like Tensas or East and West Carroll Parishes.
Jim McClain of Jim’s Firearms said a hunter who plans on shooting black bears next year will need certain guns and bullets to shoot legally.
“It really depends on the type of firearm that you use,” said McClain. “You need to have a bullet that has more penetration, to do more terminal energy.”
McClain says black bears have “heavier skin” compared to other animals hunters typically hunt in Louisiana.
In 2018, conservation groups filed a lawsuit to get the bears back on the endangered list. The groups say the bears still need federal protection.
Last month, LWDF found a Louisiana black bear that was shot and killed.
The bear was found on Saturday, Oct. 7 off Solitude Road in West Feliciana Parish. According to the LDWF, “a necropsy was performed, and it was determined that the bear perished because of a gunshot wound from a rifle.”
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