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If you see a black bear in your neighborhood, don’t panic. These animals aren’t looking for a confrontation. If you think there’s a chance a bear may enter your neighborhood, do your best to keep food supplies, things like trash and pet food, indoors.

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Black History Month. First Alert Skycams. First Alert Hurricane Center. Gas Prices. Friday Night Football. Event Calendar. Collector’s Calendar. Cape Fear Weekend. Community Classroom. Carolina in the Morning. Conserve Cape Fear. Gray DC Bureau. Investigate TV. However, black bears were often killed by early settlers to protect their families, crops and livestock. In time, bears across the state were also impacted by habitat loss from agricultural development and clear-cutting.

By the mids, bears were only found in the most remote mountains and coastal swamps of our state. Then in the s, the American chestnut blight a tree-killing fungus hit the Mountain Region, destroying the most important nut-producing tree for bears.

As a result, bear populations suffered. However, thanks to science-based management and bear sanctuaries, black bears have made a remarkable recovery in population and range. Black bear expansion has occurred naturally as bears have moved into suitable habitats. The black bear is an omnivore with a diet of both plants and animals. It varies in color: in North Carolina, the black bear is usually black with a brown muzzle and sometimes a white patch on its chest, commonly referred to as a chest blaze.

In other areas of North America, black bears can be a very common brown color or a more rare blue and white. All bear species have five toes on each foot and each toe has a sharp curved claw enabling the bear to feed on insects and grubs in decaying logs.

Black bears rely mostly on their sense of smell and hearing due to poor eyesight, but are adept at climbing, running, swimming and digging. They have been clocked at speeds of 35 miles per hour over short distances. Bears prefer large expanses of uninhabited woodland or swampland with dense cover. Lowland hardwoods, swamps and pocosins provide good habitat. Bears gain weight in autumn to prepare for winter denning, eating up to 20, calories per day during spring and summer, they eat 3, to 8, calories daily.

In North Carolina, bears enter their dens between late October and mid-January, and emerge in March or early April, depending on the weather and food availability. They use tree cavities, hollow logs, caves, rock outcroppings, slash piles, and thickets as dens. Sometimes they build a nest directly on the ground. The black bear is a very shy, non-aggressive animal that avoids humans in most cases. Occasionally, bears wander into developed areas in search of food. In agricultural areas where corn, peanuts, soybeans and wheat are common, bears often feed on these crops.

Due to rising bear and human populations, bears and people are increasingly coming into contact with each other in many parts of the state. To avoid negative interactions, bears should never have access to human foods, garbage, pet food or bird food.

Feeding bears rewards them for coming into residential areas. Bears feeding on unnatural food sources around your home may lose their fear of humans and will be more likely to approach people — a situation that rarely ends well for the bear and could have potential safety issues for humans as well! If you see a bear, stay calm and keep a safe distance. If you encounter a bear at close range, back away slowly and make lots of noise. Approximately , acres of land have been designated as bear sanctuaries by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

These areas permit bear populations to thrive. Bear populations are stable or increasing in most areas of North Carolina. Bear hunting is a tradition dating back to early Native Americans who depended on bears for meat, fat to season foods, and hides to make clothing.

Early colonists in North Carolina quickly learned from the Indian tribes and developed a strong bear-hunting tradition that continues into the 21st century. Today, approximately 70 percent of hunters use hounds to pursue bears, including the Plott Hound—the official North Carolina state dog and famous bearhunting breed.

The Plott Hound breed originated in the mountains of North Carolina around and is the only breed of dog known to have originated in this state.

The comeback of the black bear is a North Carolina wildlife success story. In the mids, black bears were restricted to remote areas and reached very low numbers. Since the s, over , acres of land have been designated as bear sanctuaries by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. These sanctuaries were key to the successful restoration of bears and are still vital to bear population management.

Today, black bears are abundant and thriving in North Carolina.



How many black bears are in north carolina.20 fascinating facts about NC black bears


Skip to Main Content. Loading Close. Do Not Show Again Close. Website Sign In. Hibernation If food is not available, bears do not have to eat, urinate or defecate all winter long and can simply sleep through the winter. Black Bear Ecology. Food Conditioning. The new regulations also allow hunters to bait with unprocessed food on private land, but they cannot take bears while they are eating. The state has a Black Bear Management Plan, and allowing hunting in the Piedmont is part of that plan.

Even the urban crescent from Charlotte to the Triad to the Triangle contains large undeveloped areas big enough to support bears. The strategy includes monitoring every three years and considering changes as needed. A few of the counties in their Piedmont management unit in the plan were already included in western and eastern bear seasons, but relatively few bears were taken because the population is so low. The new Piedmont bear season will occur during portions of the deer season, as most bear encounters will be expected to happen with deer hunters.

Currently, the season across N. The actual time periods during the year that bears can be hunted vary by region, and there are a number of black bear sanctuaries in the state where bear hunting is not permitted. As both a conservationist and a hunter though I only hunt deer and squirrel , I understand that hunting can be a good management tool when regulated carefully. Hunters are some of the best conservationists, as they want the resource to remain for future experiences.

Though there are undoubtedly challenges, I would like to think that humans and black bears can co-exist in some areas of the Piedmont, and would love the chance to spot one while hiking along a trail. Ultimately, biologists have to weigh all the factors and make the best decisions they can for bears and for people, given the resources available. If you value the work of the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute as we analyze trends in the Charlotte region and the Carolinas, consider a tax-deductible gift to help sustain our operations.

We appreciate your support. We as humans need to address and acknowledge that our actions are changing bear behavior and causing conflicts.

Friends of Panthertown , a nonprofit that works with the U. Forest Service to conserve the region, said unless delayed by a legislative review, the three bear sanctuaries in Panthertown will no longer be designated as a sanctuary or provide a haven for black bears by Aug. And currently, hunters are only allowed to kill one bear during the season. The black bear is the only bear species found in North Carolina or anywhere in the eastern U.

They mostly rely on their sense of smell and hearing, as their eyesight is weak, and can climb, run, swim and dig. They can travel at speeds of 35 miles per hour over short distances.


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