The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife issuing hundreds of permits to hunt black bears from April 15 – June 15 throughout the state is irresponsible wildlife management from a biological, moral or ethical position.
A fall bear hunt already exists.
Their rationale is tree damage on timber lands, human-bear conflict and damage, and to distribute harvest.
Supplemental feeding programs by the department on timberlands during the spring already exist and should be expanded to lessen the present, indiscriminate overkill.
Bear biologists are acutely aware that male black bears, mothers and cubs emerge from hibernation at their most critical time to survive as most food sources are not yet available.
The most shameful reality of an unneeded spring hunt is the department’s own admission: “Hunters are urged not to shoot females with cubs.”
The tragic reality: It will happen and produce orphans to eventually die as the average cub only weighs 8 to 12 pounds in April and is easily unseen.
Witnessing nuisance bear complaints and pressure by the department to remove them is based on hysteria, unfounded fear and minimal damage, in most cases, to bird feeders and overturned garbage cans.
We have properties in the upper foothills of Port Angeles and Sequim and have always been in close contact with black bears.
It is not in their DNA to harm humans; but to survive in the face of hunting pressure, poaching and human encroachment of their habitat.