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Black Bear Management

Black bear were once limited to small, isolated populations in only the most inaccessible mountain regions of the state. In recent decades, conservative bear management has allowed black bear populations to increase dramatically in number and distribution. However, as bear populations increase and more people choose to live and recreate in areas occupied by bears, human-bear conflicts also increase. Thus, managing bear populations is critically important and managers are challenged to balance diverse public interests in bears with concern for public safety.

Black Bear Management Plan

map of NY showing black bear management objectives by Wildlife Management Unit

DEC's Management Plan for Black Bear in New York State, 2014-2024 (PDF) outlines the components of the black bear management program.

The plan describes the current and desired future status of bear populations in various geographic regions of New York. Additionally, it describes five primary goals identified by DEC staff that encompass the current priorities of bear managers and values and issues expressed by the public:

  1. Maintain bear populations at levels acceptable to the public;
  2. Promote and enhance bear hunting as an important management tool;
  3. Minimize the frequency and severity of human-bear conflicts;
  4. Foster understanding and communication about bear ecology, management, and conflict avoidance; and
  5. Ensure that the necessary resources are available to support effective management of black bears in New York.

A draft of this bear management plan was released for public comment from January 16 to February 21, 2014. DEC received comments from several thousand individuals and organizations. Subsequently, DEC reviewed all of the comments and made several changes to the final version of this plan. See Public Comments on the draft NYS Black Bear Management Plan, 2014-2024 (PDF) to review the comments submitted and DEC's response.

Black Bear Management Resources

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