February 02, 2021
California State Senator Scott Wiener introduced legislation that would end all bear hunting. California Senate Bill 252 would make it unlawful to hunt or take bears in the state by designating bears as a nongame mammal.
This legislation is the final step in California's movement toward the elimination of all hunting for major predators. Despite their abundant population and frequent conflicts with people, pets and livestock, mountain lion hunting has been illegal since 1990.
In 2012, the California legislature narrowly approved a ban on bear hunting using hounds after it had been rejected several times. In 2019, Gov. Newsome signed Assembly Bill 1254, which ends all bobcat hunting until at least 2025; given the extreme financial commitment required to reopen it, bobcat hunting in the state has likely ended, too.
Senate Bill 252 would end all recreational hunting of black bears.
Under the bill, bears could only be harvested via a depredation permit issued by the CDFW. Depredation permits are only issued when someone can show damages caused by an individual problem bear.
This legislation directly undermines the role of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife plays in deciding how wildlife should be managed in the state. Bear populations have been steadily increasing in California since the 1980s when the population was between 10,000 and 15,000.
Presently, the CDFW conservatively estimates between 30,000 and 40,000 black bears statewide.
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These population estimates clearly demonstrate a need for continued bear management to minimize human-wildlife conflict, which can include dangerous encounters. Anti-hunting legislation has become more frequent in California, and advances much more overreaching. Last year, a ban on importing trophies from African big-game hunts passed the legislature, but ultimately failed because it didn’t pass the senate before a constitutionally mandated deadline.
"When it comes to hunting and wildlife management, California has developed a well-earned reputation for ignoring science and data as the legislature continually kowtows to the animal-rights lobby," said Bruce Tague, vice president of government affairs at the Sportsmen's Alliance.
"Wildlife experts agree that hunting is the best method for controlling predator populations, including the prolific black bear population. Bears are in no danger of becoming extinct in California, but it's pretty clear many legislators prefer that hunters themselves would be."
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.