North Carolina Bear Hunters Association

North Carolina Bear Hunters Association


Bear Hunting News & Bulletin Board

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

APA 2018 Breed Days Event

The NCBHA attended the American Plott Association (APA) Breed Days in Greeneville, TN, on March 16 and 17. We enjoyed seeing and visiting with everyone, this was a fine event and always a great opportunity to meet with old and new friends. Thanks for attending.

Southeastern Treeing Walker Days

The NCBHA attended the 45th Annual Southeastern Treeing Walker Days at the Union County Fairgrounds in February (23rd and 24th).  This was a wonderful event and we saw a lot of our NCBHA members and dog hunting friends.

Bear Tracks


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.