Mass. Bear Population Continues to Rise

Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Bear Hunting Magazine

If there seems to be more black bear stories in the news lately from Massachusetts of them wandering into suburban neighborhoods in central and eastern areas of the state, along with the famous Cape Cod bear, it very well could be because there continues to be more and more bears in the state.

Massachusetts bear population has been rising at a level of around 8% per year since the 1970's based on their wildlife department estimates. One reason the population is increasing is that the approximately 100 to 140 bears that are killed during two fall hunting seasons, and by vehicles, does not exceed the birth rate. Sows normally give birth to between one and three cubs every other year.

Every spring, young bears go out on their own after being kicked out from their mothers who are ready to bred again, while the older male bears are out looking for love; sometimes in all the wrong places. This brings many of them out and into populated areas.

The last time the bear population was studied in detail in the state was 2005, when 3,000 were counted. A new model for a bear count is being refined and another one is planned in the near future.

A spokesman for the Massachusetts wildlife division said there has been no talk about extending the bear hunting season to help reduce the number of bears in the state as of yet.

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