North Carolina Bear Hunters Association

North Carolina Bear Hunters Association

 


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Bear Hunting News & Bulletin Board

Keep informed of the latest news and information about North Carolina bear hunting.

APA 2021 Breed Days Event

The NCBHA had intended to attend the American Plott Association (APA) Breed Days in Greenville, TN, on May 14, 15 and 16, in Greenville, TN.  This event will be held at 265 Camp Joshua Lane, Greenville, TN.   It is always an exceptional weekend and we enjoy visiting with everyone. We had our NCBHA Merchandise Store (hats, hoodies, tee shirts, tags, etc.) on hand. This is always a fine event and great opportunity to meet with old and new friends.  The APA has been monitoring the  CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) restrictions and its expected that the State of Tennessee will lift their restrictions for groups.  There could be some limitations on face coverings but at this time it appears to be moving forward.  By the way, if you are elgible for a Covid Vaccine, please get the inoculation at your first opportunity.   

2021 Daniel Boone Bear Club Event

It appears the Daniel Boone Bear Club event may move forward this year, however the date and venue remains unconfirmed at this time due to NC COVID restrictions .  The NCBHA will be attending and bringing our bear hunter merchandise. This is a great event and fund raiser for an organization that does a super job supporting the local community. 

NCBHA Board Of Driectors - 2021

As reported to the NCBHA Board of Directors:    The Board reviewed reports that some NCWRC Commissioners of the Big Game Committee, discussed restructuring elements of the Coastal Bear Management Unit (CBMU) hunting season, possibly allowing an exclusive fall archery season. The NCBHA and numerous other bear hunter stakeholders have always opposed any exclusive bear hunting seasons segregated by method of take. Nothing has changed, the NCBHA continues to oppose a segregated season in any form. 

The Board reviewed reports, that some Big Game Committee members inquired again about a second (2nd) harvest tag. It’s an interesting idea and we have supported earlier considerations of a second tag provided it was implemented appropriately, however everyone must stay focused on two key issues here: 

1) North Carolina is meeting population objectives as outlined in the Bear Management Plan (BMP), so there is absolutely no reason to endorse an expanded harvest. The population is at just approximately ZERO growth (not measurably increasing or decreasing), and;

2) The NCWRC Wildlife Management Division must implement the CBMU Population Study, across the CBMU over a minimum period of 2-years to scientifically determine a focused estimate of the coastal bear population.

We’ve been funding this type research through our Bears Harvest Tags and it needs to be implemented to provide all stakeholder with this valuable information. This would be an inaugural study to produce a non-biased population and density estimates across the CBMU zones. Density estimates would help us evaluate the boundaries and bear hunting seasons of the 5 CBMU zones. With the bear population estimate, we could standardize our current methods to monitor bear population trends and ascertain the most accurate data points and information

The Board reviewed reports about the legislative effort to establish a mandatory bear premolar tooth submission. There’s a lot of benefits for bear hunters to supply provide one or both premolar teeth, as it would greatly help us gain non-biased data from hound and still hunters. The Board is sure our Wildlife Management Division and biologists would like to use tooth data in as part of the CBMU population study to aid our biologist in designing a functional model to better monitor bear population trends and growth. The NC Wildlife Resources Commissions is preparing to make tooth submission mandatory through legislation supported by the NC General Assembly.

HOUSE BILL 181

North Carolina General Assembly  /  House Bill 181 /  Ref to House Finance Committee.

REQUIREMENTS FOR HARVEST OF BLACK BEAR  SECTION 4.(a) G.S. 113-291.7 reads as rewritten: § 113-291.7. Regulation of bears; limited retention of local acts closing bear seasons.

(c) Any hunter who has harvested a black bear (Ursus americanus) shall submit at least one premolar tooth to the Wildlife Resources Commission no later than January 31 following the applicable prior bear hunting season. The tooth submission shall include all of the following information on a form specified by the Wildlife Resources Commission:

(1) The hunter's name and mailing address.

(2) The hunter's Wildlife Resources Commission customer number and bear harvest authorization number.

(3) The sex of the harvested bear.

(4) The county of harvest.

(d) Violation of subsection (c) of this section shall be an infraction as provided in 2 G.S. 14-3.1, punishable by a fine of thirty-five dollars ($35.00). A person responsible for a infraction under this subsection shall not be assessed court costs, but the Executive Director of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is authorized to revoke or refuse to issue bear e-stamp privileges for any individual guilty of an infraction for violations of subsection (c) of this section for two consecutive years or upon failure to pay outstanding infraction fines when required to do so.  

HOUSE BILL 671

North Carolina General Assembly / House Bill 181 / Ref to Wildlife Resources Committee.

Short Title: Change State Mammal to Black Bear. (Public)

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED - AN ACT TO REPLACE THE GRAY SQUIRREL WITH THE BLACK BEAR AS THE OFFICIAL STATE MAMMAL.

Whereas, Brandon Marshall was a proud resident of Hyde County, North Carolina, who enjoyed all the natural beauty it offered and who tragically lost his life on January 25, 2021; and
Whereas, Brandon Marshall dedicated significant time to the conservation efforts of North Carolina, including working as the chapter president of Ducks Unlimited, assisting in the Wetlands Reserve Program, aiding the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, and working with the North Carolina Agriculture Cost Share Program; and
Whereas, Brandon Marshall respected North Carolina's black bears and sought to educate and enhance everyone's knowledge of these  amazing creatures, promoting safe and sustainable hunting practices for all; and
Whereas, in honor of Brandon Marshall and in recognition of the importance and majesty of North Carolina's black bears, it is fitting to designate the black bear the official mammal of the State of North Carolina; Now, therefore,
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts: 
SECTION 1. G.S. 145-5 reads as rewritten: "§ 145-5. State mammal.
The gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is hereby black bear (Ursus americanus) is adopted as the official State mammal of the State of North Carolina."
SECTION 2. This act is effective when it becomes law.

BHM Bulletin Board

Reed Sheffield will be preparing and publishing the NCBHA atricles here is Bear Hunter Magazine.  Send any article content or requests using the CONTACT e-link.

In Remembrance

Charles Presnell - Our great friend and fellow bear hunter Charles Presnell passed away in January after a long health battle.  Charles was a faithful and instrumental member of the NCBHA Board of Directors.  Charles served 18 years on the Board of Directors, provided excellent counsel on many important deliberations and sat on several NCBHA committees involving our games lands, bear baiting rule and USFS land access. Charles and his wonderful wife Sherrie were always willing to take on special activities. I’m sure we speak for all NC bear hunters in saying we already miss Charles and his calm steady demeanor. God Bless you Charles we will meet again.

BJ JohnsonWe received notice that our dearest friend and bear hunter BJ Johnson passed. BJ served on our Board of Directors since 1989, he always attended our meetings and provided a stalwart voice for bear hunters in North Carolina.  He was a proponent of a practical bear baiting rule and the right to hunt with dogs.  BJ hunted with a large club for years and was know amongst the old-school bears hunters of the 60’s and 70’s when bear hunting was a tough endeavor.  We will miss BJ and look forward to meeting him again.


Bear Tracks

Background

Beginning in the mid-1980s, whenever NCBHA wanted to discuss changes or modifications to bear hunting regulations or bear management, we were forced to take our requests to the North Carolina legislature and enact laws both on statewide and local law levels to effect such changes.

Early in the 90s, the NCWRC expressed interest in working with NCBHA to modify and develop a bear strategy through existing agency regulatory authority and not through the legislature. With hopes of good intentions by everyone involved, the NCWRC and NCBHA began an interactive process that endured many achievements and disappointments while trying to find solutions for better bear management. Notwithstanding regular attempts to align and regionalize hunting seasons, the NCWRC showed reluctance to move forward despite the dialog with hunters. In 2009 after much bureaucratic stonewalling on the part of NCWRC, NCBHA determined that until there was a bear management plan that set forth specific goals and approaches for achieving them, we could not gain the traction required to move bear management forward.

In 2011 and 2012, the very nature of NCWRC changed. Most observers recognized that the commission changed from an amicable and respected group of commissioners who had genuine interest and expertise in some matters of fishing and hunting and provided competent advice, consent, and oversight to a commission that could often be described as a heavy-handed management group. During this uneasy period, the NCWRC spent no time or effort developing the needed bear management plan.

Over the past six years, NCWRC and NCBHA have held some 36 statewide meetings. The basis of these meetings initially centered around hunting seasons, feeding bears, and problems between hunters and agency law enforcement regarding feeding-related issues. NCWRC would not change seasons and modify methods of take because they still didn't have a bear management plan. Finally, after 22 years without one, Chairman Hoyle demanded that the bear management plan be prioritized and finalized. Quickly after that, we had a good plan.

It wasn't long before many of the commissioners wanted to allow hunting with the aid of bait. There was huge disagreement between bear hunters, agency biologists, agency executives, and commissioners. After three years of intense disagreement and a majority rejection by bear hunters during the district public hearings, the NCWRC decided to incrementally permit bear hunting with the aid of bait for three years. During that time, time neither hunters nor the agency would attempt to modify the bear regulations in any manner until we had a scientific understanding of the effects of baiting on bear populations.


U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Plans To End Common Access To North Carolina National Forests

USFS is proposing to designate 362,000 acres and 53 river segments in the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests as Wilderness Areas. It is a designation that would always severely limit access to these public lands by the average person and especially our youngest, oldest, and disabled citizens.

NCBHA expressed the strongest opposition to this plan to add any more Forest Service lands in North Carolina to the National Wilderness Preservation System. It is unlikely that any other group of Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest users knows these lands better than our bear hunting members do. For hundreds of years, our families have hunted and traveled these lands as a tradition that predates the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest itself. Consequently, we understand well, the life-altering impact that this plan presents.

Congressional Hearing: Operation Something Bruin

The US House of Representatives, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, held a Congressional Field Hearing on June 19th at the Haywood County Courthouse, to investigate possible government waste, fraud, and abuse, as related to the federal and state investigation called Operation Something Bruin. US House Rep. Mark Meadows (NC) chaired the hearing with Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC) and Rep. Doug Collins (GA). Operation Something Bruin, was a 58 month undercover operation into alleged bear poaching and Lacey Act offenses in the Smokey Mountain region conducted by the US Forest Service, the National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service and North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission and Georgia state wildlife agencies. Despite the drama generated by all the federal and state agency press releases citing 81 hunters being charged with 980 violations, the results have been astonishing with numerous felony charges being reduced, and even more misdemeanor charges being dropped altogether.

What’s more, its entirely possible that the most inexcusable and criminal acts were committed not by hunters, but rather by the undercover agents who illegally killed 6 of 10 bears themselves, for the purpose of entrapping or entangling hunters after the fact, as a result undercover agents actions.

The following documents provide information and/or testimony in advance of during the Friday hearings.

• Written Testimony Of L. Allyn Stockton
• Written Testimony Of Charles Anthony Smith
• Statement Of Tony Tooke Regional Forester Southern Region Forest Service
• Testimony Of Luis Santiago, Special Agent-In-Charge, Southeast Region
• Testimony Of Gordon S. Myers Executive Director North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Bear Hunting Magazine

It's our privilege to announce that the NCBHA will continue our relationship with Bear Hunting Magazine. We consider Bear Hunting Magazine the only true forum dedicated to bear hunting in North America. As you probably already know, the NCBHA will be providing a full subscription to each of our members as part of your standard membership. We believe that Bear Hunting Magazine is an effective medium for communicating with members while also providing quality bear hunting articles.