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North Carolina Plans to Permit Bear Hunting in Dupont Forest
North Carolina has announced that it will be issuing a limited number of bear hunting permits to hunters in Dupont State Forest. Dupont Forest is located between Brevard and Hendersonville and is extremely popular among hikers, mountain bikers, and fishermen.
Residents outside the forest's boundaries are reporting more sightings of bear than ever before. Folks have taken to removing bird feeders and trash cans from the immediate vicinity of their homes. More than one local resident has reported waking up to loud noises, only to find a bear out on their deck or attacking their feeders. Construction sites have had to take extra precautions when disposing of perishables in their dumpsters,too.
The State has explained that the issuing of the bear-hunting licenses will be done on something of a trial basis and in a limited number. The bear hunting dates will be as follows: October 29-31, November 5-7, and November 12-14. Only two licenses will be issued per hunting period. Each license may be used by a hunting party of no more than ten hunters.
The State also hopes that the Dupont Forest wild hog population will automatically be reduced as a by-product of the bear hunting permits. Once hunters head into the forest, it is anticipated that they will encounter hogs along the way as well, which they are free to hunt. Wild hogs are not a regulated game animal; therefore, there are no bag limits that hunters must respect.The Forest already allows deer and some small game hunting, both of which will not be affected by the new State ruling.
The wild hog population, on the other hand, has sky rocketed and is out of control. Along with that statistic comes the destruction of wide expanses of land, torn up by the wild hogs in a manner for which they have gained notoriety. Chunks of earth and grasses are pulled up and strewn haphazardly over areas the size of an acre or larger. These wild hogs are a non-native species and have spread out from the Smokies into parts of western North Carolina, bringing forest destruction in their wake.
Joffrey Brooks, the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission's biologist believes the area has more than enough bear to satisfy the hunters efforts. Because they expect far more applications for the licenses than can possibly be filled, Brooks said the permits will be awarded based on a state lottery system. Those interested in applying for a license can visit a wildlife agency or call 888-248-6834 before September 15th, the deadline for applying.