Bear hunting: California officials drafting new rules that could increase kills | SierraSun.com

Bear hunting: California officials drafting new rules that could increase kills

The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. and#8212; State officials are drafting new rules that could greatly increase the number of black bears that hunters may kill each year.

The Department of Fish and Game says California’s black bear population has quadrupled in the past 25 years. The increase has led to more reports of property damage and other encounters between humans and bears.

Hunters currently are limited to killing 1,700 black bears each year, and officials say the new rules could raise that by more than 50 percent.

The new rules also could, for the first time, allow hunters to use GPS devices on the collars of hunting dogs that automatically alert them when the dogs have cornered a bear.

The department is holding a hearing on the rules Thursday.

Animal rights groups say they’re fighting the proposal, which they call inhumane and extreme.