Public Meetings To Discuss Georgia Bears

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WRD's 10-year bear plan is on the table for hunters to review.

If you bear hunt in one of Georgia’s three Bear Zones, you will be interested in what’s coming for the next 10 years. WRD has just released it’s “Draft Strategic Management Plan for Black Bears in Georgia (2018-2027),” and hunters have the opportunity to make comment through one of three upcoming public meetings.

“This long term strategic plan was developed to ensure the long-term conservation of Georgia’s black bear population through science-based decision-making and biologically sound management principles to provide sustainable harvest opportunities and promote the black bear’s intrinsic value in Georgia’s natural landscape while minimizing human-bear conflicts,” says Adam Hammond, state bear biologist with WRD.

In addition to much focus on maintaining current bear populations in all three of Georgia’s bear populations, the 47-page Plan includes a list of “Statewide Program Goals, Objectives and Strategies” on page 39. One of the Plan’s objectives is to “Maintain bear hunting tradition,” and part of WRD’s strategy in this would be to “recruit new bear hunters… hunt and learn programs, youth hunts and education programs should be developed and evaluated.”

The Plan also speaks of promoting support for bear hunting on administrative, political and public levels. It states, “Be proactive in taking steps to build and maintain long-term support for bear hunting among Georgia’s non-hunting public… Support bear management strategies that lead to improved support for bear hunting among Georgia’s non-hunting public and avoid those that erode such support.”

In the next 10 years, WRD also mentions black bear research goals they’d like to perform. Some of that research includes:

• Understanding current bear range, and why they are not expanding in some areas, and develop predictive habitat model
• Translocation study in middle Georgia (moving new bears into CGA)
• Urban/suburban bear study in north Georgia (denning, etc.)
• Resource competition between deer, bear and hogs
• Evaluation of effects of fire on black bears

Steve Miller with a very nice bear he killed in Cherokee County with his bow.

All the below WRD public meetings to discuss the Plan will begin at 7 p.m.

October 16, 2018
Go Fish Education Center (1255 Perry Parkway, Perry)

October 17, 2018
Blue Ridge EMC (875 Main Street East, Young Harris)

October 30, 2018
Ware County Courthouse (800 Church Street, Waycross)

Any participant at a meeting may present data, make a statement or comment, or offer a viewpoint or argument, either orally or in writing. Statements should be concise to permit everyone an opportunity to speak. Participants must register upon arrival and notify the registering official of their intent to give a statement.

Those unable to attend a meeting may submit input in one of the following methods (input must be received by Monday, Nov. 5, 2018):

• Statements may be electronically submitted at: georgiawildlife.com/regulations/meetings
• Written statements should be mailed to: GA DNR/Wildlife Resources Division/Game Management Section; Attn: Tina Johannsen; 2067 U.S. Highway 278, S.E.; Social Circle, Georgia 30025.
• Call 706-557-3350.

Send GON your bear-harvest photos to letters@gon.com and include hunter name, age (if a youth), hometown (city), county of kill, date and any other information that will help us write your caption.

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