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Experts, Legislators Find Significant Flaws in Proposed State Bear Hunting Expansion

SACRAMENTO – The Humane Society of the United States has presented the Department of Fish and Game with a detailed biological and legal analysis showing serious flaws with a proposal to expand the annual black bear hunting quota in California. The analysis, authored by attorney Bill Yeates of Kenyon Yeates, LLP and biologist Rick Hopkins, Ph.D., concludes the California Department of Fish and Game’s proposal to increase hunting are unscientific and do not meet appropriate legal requirements. 

At the same time, Assemblymember Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, sent a letter signed by 20 California state legislators to the Commission urging them to reject CDFG’s proposal, stating in part, “[a]t a time when our state government is making incredibly difficult and painful choices about which services we can afford to provide to taxpayers, this annual cycle of unjustified expansions that the Department knows will chew up constituent and Department staff time are ill-advised.” 

“[The department’s plan] fails to provide the detailed information about the environmental consequences of the proposed expansion of the black bear hunting season; most importantly, it fails to provide adequate information for the recommendation to increase the black bear quota,” said Hopkins. 

Yeates and Hopkins analysis found a number of serious flaws with the CDFG proposals, including: 

  • The agency had not adequately evaluated the environmental consequences of expanding bear hunting season and increasing the killing of bears for sport on local or regional bear populations.
  • The agency failed to evaluate the impacts of increased poaching of bears in California.

The Fish and Game Commission will discuss the CDFG proposals at its April 7 meeting in Folsom and is expected to vote during the meeting scheduled for May 5 in Ontario. 

In February, the CDFG unveiled proposed changes to bear hunting regulations that would increase the black bear hunting quota from 1,700 per year to 2,000 per year – a nearly 20 percent annual increase. In California, most bear hunters – who comprise less than 0.1 percent of Californians – pursue black bears with dogs in an effort to add heads and hides to their collections. 

"The commission should not go forward with the proposed changes to the bear hunting regulations because the department has failed to adequately disclose and analyze the significant adverse impacts on the environment associated with these changes as required by California Environmental Quality Act,” Yeates said. 


  • To read Mr. Yeates’ and Dr. Hopkins’ letter to CDFGclick here
  • To read The Humane Society of the United States’ letter to CDFG click here


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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.




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