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Bear harvest second highest on record

From the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

-- Bear hunters didn't beat last year's record, but instead harvested the second-highest total in the state's history.

More than 450 bears were harvested during the 2010-11 season. During the 2009-10 season, hunters harvested a record 530 bears. Bear Program Coordinator Myron Means said archery and crossbow hunters took 63 percent of the total harvest.

"It was mostly associated with higher harvest on private land and over bait," Means said. "Mast failure caused bears to seek baits more than in other years." 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 the two top counties for bear hunters. In Polk County, 40 bears were harvested, followed by 35 bears in Scott County.

Means said that future considerations for bear season may include implementing a harvest quota by month for bear zone 1. In 2010, the harvest quota in that zone was reached before modern gun season opened. To provide bear hunting opportunities for gun hunters, a portion of the 200 bear quota may be moved to November.

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