ST. GEORGE – With the black bear population in the state doing “extremely well,” wildlife biologists with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources are recommending an increase in hunting permits for 2018.
As of 2016, the population of adult black bears in Utah was recorded to be 3,500, according to the DWR. This is up from 1,300 adult bears recorded in 2000, two years after the beginning of the Utah Black Bear Management Plan was initiated as a way to help increase the population.
The count does not include bears under two years old, so the overall population is much higher, according to the DWR.
“The state’s bear population has been growing steadily since 1998, especially in the southeastern part of the state. We’d like to give additional hunters a chance to hunt them,” said Darren DeBloois, game mammals coordinator for the DWR.
While helping wildlife officials meet objectives under the management plan, hunters also help provide biologists with information on the bears they take. Hunters are required to bring their bears to a DWR biologist or a conservation officer who will access the animal’s overall condition as well as determine its sex and age.
Data collected from these bears helps give biologists an insight into how the general population is doing, DeBlooois said.
“The state’s bear population is doing really well,” DeBloois said. “We’re excited about that.”
The number of black bear hunting permits issued last season was 758, with around 365 taken. Biologists are recommending that 860 permits be issued for the 2018 reason, though are expecting similar results with around 400 bears estimated to be being taken by hunters next year.
A complete list of the biologists’ hunting recommendations can be found here.
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