80+ Charged In Bear Poaching Operation

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Bear Hunting Magazine

Georgia and North Carolina state and federal wildlife officials began making arrests yesterday following a four-year investigation of bear poachers in both states. The undercover operation called, "Operation Something Bruin" involved more than 80 violators and up to 900 violations in all. Most charges are linked to illegal bear hunting but some relate to other wildlife such as deer.

Violations included bear baiting, illegal take of bears, deer and other wildlife, illegal use of dogs, illegal bear enclosures and guided hunts in national forests without permits. Investigators say some of the bears were killed so that their paws and gallbladders could be sold on the black market.

The North Carolina Wildlife Commission estimates there are about 15,500 active bear hunters in the state. In the 2011-12 hunting season, 2,775 bears were legally taken. North Carolina's bear population is around 16,000 and growing at about 6% year.

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