California Stops Vote To Up Harvest Numbers

California Dept. Of Fish & Game, Bear Hunting Magazine

Facing opposition from animal rights groups and Democratic lawmakers, the California's Fish and Game director indefinitely withdrew a proposal to let hunters increase the number of black bears they kill each year by 50 percent or more.

The proposal, which was supported by hunting groups but had become a flash point for organizations like the Humane Society of the United States, was scheduled for a vote in Sacramento before the state Fish and Game Commission.

But just hours before the meeting, Fish and Game Director John McCamman sent a memo to the commission asking it make "no change at this time to the existing bear-hunting regulations." McCamman said in the memo and an interview afterward that his department pulled the proposed rule changes because it received a large number of public comments and wasn't able to reply to them in time, as required under the law.

Normally, the state Fish and Game Commission updates its large-mammal hunting rules every three years. When asked if he planned to send new bear-hunting regulations to the commission before 2013, McCamman said he didn't know.

"It could come sooner," he said. "We got lots of comments. It forced us to re-look at the document we were sending the commission."

Hunting season for black bear in California begins each fall. It ends when hunters either report up to 1,700 black bears killed or when the last Sunday in December arrives. The proposal from Fish and Game staff offered various options to increase the total quota, with one option suggesting 2,500 bears be killed a year and another suggesting there be no limit set.

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