DEC releases draft management plan for black bears

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) last Thursday released a draft species management plan for black bears and will be accepting public comments on the management plan through January 31.
“Wildlife management can present challenges in trying to balance populations, hunting opportunities, and environmental impacts,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens.  “This plan will guide the management of this species for the next 10 years, and we encourage people to review and submit comments on the draft plans.”
The management plan also reflect Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative, an effort to improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state.  This initiative includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing and reducing license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state, and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions.
Black Bears
The draft Black Bear Management Plan for New York State, 2014-2024 is available on the DEC’s website at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7215.html.  Black bears are a very popular wildlife species among the general public, but can pose significant challenges when the bears become too abundant or are acting boldly in populated areas.
DEC’s draft plan describes five primary goals that reflect the current priorities of bear managers and desires expressed by the public: maintain bear populations at levels acceptable to the public; promote and enhance bear hunting as an important management tool; minimize the frequency and severity of human-bear conflicts; foster understanding and communication about bear ecology, management, and conflict avoidance; and ensure the necessary resources are available to support effective management of black bears in New York. 

Bear status updates
The plan also describes the current and desired future status of bear populations in various geographic regions of New York.
Many of the strategies identified in the plan are already occurring; others reflect new work to be more fully developed during the next 10 years.  The plan includes proposals to expand bear hunting opportunities in many wildlife management units, especially in the Catskills and western Hudson Valley where in recent years human-bear conflicts have become more common and pose a serious threat to human safety and property.
Comments on the draft bear plan may be submitted in writing through January 31 to: NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, Bear Management Plan, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754 or by e-mail to fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us  (please type “Bear Plan” in the subject line).