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Arkansas bear harvest continues to be strong

From Arkansas Fish and Game Commission

-- Arkansas’s bear harvest continues to be strong. Hunters harvested more than 400 bears during the 2011-12. Last year, hunters harvested more 450 bears. During the 2009-10 season, hunters harvested a record 530 bears.

Bear Program Coordinator Myron Means said the harvest numbers could be attributed to private land hunters using bait. “Mast failure caused bears to seek baits more than in the past,” Means said. Means added that the sex ratio was good and the statewide harvest goal is between 350 and 400 bears each year.

Polk and Scott counties were again the two top counties for bear hunters. In Polk County, 51 bears were harvested, followed by 45 bears in Scott County.

Means said that future considerations for bear season may include removing the two-day early modern gun hunt in Bear Zone 2.

“The two-day gun season has been successful in increasing bear harvest for Bear Zone 2. However, it also has increased the female harvest ratio from roughly 35 percent to 50 percent,” Means said. “A 50 percent harvest rate of adult females is not sustainable over the long term,” he warned.

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