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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

When you read this report on the status of Minnesota's Black Bear population it becomes readiy apparent that we must move beyond hunter kills in determining optimum population levels for Black Bears............I got dizzy reading about increased killing licenes, decreased killing licenses,,,,,,,,,,,,,,population up, population down,,,,,,,,,,,,,population "all around the town"............Time to let biologists determine carnivore populations based on forest health and the health of all species that the carnivores(in this case black bears) impact through the chain of life

Minnesota black bear population finds stability

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune 
  • Updated: October 25, 2014 - 4:49 PM
New DNR strategies have helped bruins come back.
Minnesota’s black bear population — which now numbers 10,000 to 
15,000 after peaking around 25,000 — appears 
to have stabilized 
after state officials deliberately reduced the 
population by boosting
 hunter numbers.
Bruin numbers topped out in the late 1990s
and early 2000s, then fell dramatically as the
Department of Natural Resources issued
more permits to hunters.

“Our bear population was increasing quite fast
during the 1980s and ’90s, and the only way to
control it was to increase the number of hunters,’’
 said Karen Noyce, DNR bear research biologist
 in Grand Rapids.
To do that, the DNR made more hunting permits
available, and the number of bear hunters increased
 from 3,700 in 1985 to nearly 17,000 in 2000.
“The goal was to level off the bear
 population growth,’’ she said.
It worked. Maybe too well.
In 1985, those 3,700 hunters killed 1,340 bears,
but in 1995, the number of hunters had jumped to
11,600, and they harvested nearly 5,000 bears.
 Over the next 10 years, hunters averaged 3,500
 bears yearly.
The bear population dropped.
By 2008, the DNR estimated bear numbers had
fallen about 30 percent to 15,000 to 20,000.
“We accomplished what we wanted to do,’’ Noyce
said. But it appeared the population continued to
 fall even though the number of bear permits
available to hunters was slashed.
“It was a trend we didn’t like,’’ Noyce 
said. “We decreased hunter numbers 
dramatically because we wanted to
be sure to stop the population from
 declining further.’’
Last year and this fall, the DNR offered just
3,750 permits, the fewest in 30 years. (Hunters
 don’t need those permits in some areas.)
Hunters killed just 1,618 bears this fall, the
lowest in 26 years. About 6,200 people hunted
 bears, the lowest since 1989. The season
 ended Oct. 12.
Fewer bear hunters in the woods is OK,
 officials say. When hunter numbers were
at a peak, Noyce said, hunters complained
the woods were too crowded and the quality
 of the hunt fell. Though bear hunter numbers
 have fallen because of the reduced availability
 of permits, interest remains high: More than
 18,000 people applied for permits last year.
These days officials believe the bear population
 is between 10,000 and 15,000.
“We’d like to see it come back up a ways,’’
 Noyce said. The DNR has no population target.
“We’d be pretty happy with 15,000 to 20,000
bears,’’ Noyce said.
Estimating the population of bears — and
managing that population — is tricky business.
The DNR puts out baits laced with tetracycline,
an antibiotic. The chemical is deposited in the
 teeth and bones, and can be detected later
 in bears killed by hunters.
Successful bear hunters are required to
 submit two teeth from their animals to the
DNR. The percentage of those bears with
tetracycline allows researchers to estimate
 the population. The DNR also uses the teeth
 to age bears, which also provides a way to
 estimate the population.
The amount of natural food in the woods can
vary dramatically, and that has a big impact
 on whether bears will be lured to hunters’ baits
and killed.
“The harvest fluctuates a lot each year for
reasons other than how many bears there
are and how many hunters are out there,’’
 Noyce said.
“In 1995, we shot nearly 5,000 bears. The
 very next year we shot less than 2,000 bears
with similar number of hunters.’’ The difference
was the availability of food. Lack of natural food
in the woods also triggers more nuisance bear
 complaints as bruins seek out food at bird
 feeders or garbage cans.
Noyce said neither hunters nor wildlife watchers
need to be concerned about the bear population.
“With the level of harvest, we’ll be coming back
 up very soon, if we’re not already,’’ she said.
 “We have a good, robust population. With
 any [wildlife] population, there are going to be
 ebbs and flows.
“I don’t have any concerns about the bear

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