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Black Bear

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Making a Comeback

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Black Bear in a tree
credit~AGFC~

Black Bear cubs
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~credit~ Leonard Davis

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Arkansas`s  Black Bear

Arkansas’ black bear population, historically distributed statewide, was nearly extirpated by the early 1900's because of over exploitation from unregulated hunting and habitat loss caused by human population expansion. In 1915 the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission was created and in 1927 bear hunting was closed because of declining bear numbers. In 1951, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission reported that only 40-50 bears remained in the state. Most or all of the remaining bears resided in the lower White River drainage, in the vicinity of Scrubgrass Bayou.
Between 1958 and 1968 approximately 254 bears were introduced to Arkansas' Interior Highlands from Minnesota and Manitoba, Canada. In 1980, after a 52-year prohibition, bear hunting resumed in the Interior Highlands of Arkansas. The objectives of the hunt were to provide recreational opportunity to hunters and to collect biological data that would help manage the black bear as a resource.
The protection afforded the native Arkansas bears of the lower White River drainage promoted population increase and range expansion. Bear sightings became common in the area and bear-human conflicts increased. Therefore, after a 74-year prohibition, bear hunting was reinstated in the Delta region of Arkansas for the 2001 season. The objectives for this hunt were to provide recreational hunting opportunity, collect biological data, and to reduce bear-human conflicts.... credit, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
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Making a comeback in Missouri as well!

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~credit~ Leonard Davis

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