Utah approves new 2015 hunts for black bears
Due to a surge of black bears populating Utah’s landscape, members of the Utah Wildlife Board approved the addition of more hunting opportunities throughout 2015 on Monday. Officials hope that more hunting will help solve conflicts between black bears, people and livestock and help manage the thriving bear population.
Leslie McFarlane, mammals coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) notes that the black bear population has steadily increased over the past 15 years, totaling more than 4,100 bears throughout the state. During an average year, approximately 50 bears are euthanized due to conflicts with people and livestock, but in 2014, 91 bears had to be euthanized, pushing board members to approve these changes in order to tackle the problem another way.
“Hopefully, hunters can help us by reducing the number of bears that come into conflicts and have to be killed for being aggressive,” says Mcfarlane. Officials hope that board-approved changes will result in hunters taking 300 to 320 bears during the 2015 bear hunt season, up from the 230 to 270 bears taken during the previous three years.
The following hunting opportunities have been approved for 2015:
- Spring limited-entry hunt, which runs April 4 to June 5.
- Summer limited-entry hunt, which runs June 6 to July 2.
- Fall limited-entry, archery-only hunt, which is a new hunt being offered in two areas of the state and runs August 10 to September 11.
- Fall limited-entry hunt, which runs August 22 to September 28 and October 31 to November 19.
- Harvest-objective hunt, which will be offered in a few units during the spring and in one unit in the fall.
Black bear hunting permit applications are available starting February 9 and harvest-objective hunt applications are available starting March 9. A complete set of rules that the board approved will be available in the 2015 Utah Black Bear Guidebook, which will be available for free at the Utah DWR website during the week of January 26.