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Louisiana black bear hunting coming back in 2024

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BATON ROUGE - Since being placed on the threatened species list in 1992, the Louisiana black bear population has gone from fewer than 400 to an estimated 1200.

In the last couple of years, black bears have been popping up around the capital area, including north Baton Rouge, Port Allen and Maringouin.

"People are encountering them more and seeing them more and places where you never saw a bear, you may can go and maybe see four, five or six," said Large Carnivore Program Manager John Hanks.

According to Wildlife and Fisheries, they all had to be relocated or euthanized due to how comfortable they had gotten around people.

Just last month, a dead bear was found in St. Francisville. A necropsy determined it had been shot illegally.

"Bears are a nuisance in some places," Hanks said. "They're expanding their range, they're showing up in new places. We're providing opportunity to our sportsmen and our landowners who have helped get these bears to this point."

Due to the healthy numbers, the state is bringing back a 16-day hunting season in 2024.

A lottery system will give 10 people a single bear kill each. For reference, deer hunters get 6 tags each and the total harvest is usually around 100,000.

For now, hunting will be limited to the north east part of the state where the population is the densest.

This includes Tensas, Madison, East and West Carroll Parishes, and portions of Franklin, Richland and Catahoula.

"Those ten hunters will have their tag," Hanks said. "They'll be required to go through a training course. That season is set at a time when females would be going to den and not be as available to harvest"

Females with cubs and cubs themselves will not be allowed to be killed.

Nothing has been officially set yet, but you can likely expect to sign up for the lottery in mid-August. Wildlife and Fisheries encourages you to learn more about black bears here.

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