The tactics of state and federal wildlife officers in a multi-year undercover sting targeting bear hunters continue to come under fire.
A pair of hikers camped near the Lower Falls in Graveyard Fields got a rude awakening March 16 when a bear entered the tent where the backpackers — and at least one of their packs — were spending the night.
“That right there is the number one ‘do not do’ when you’re camping is keeping anything with food inside your tent,” said Justin McVey, wildlife biologist for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “The situation could have easily been alleviated had the camper hung the food.”
A black bear — and possibly one of its cubs — is dead after a run of bird seed raids resulted in a confrontation with a Maggie Valley homeowner’s 12-gauge.
“Everyone has a right to protect their property, and it was clear to me this individual felt threatened and it was either his life or the bear’s life,” said Sgt. Andrew Helton of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
Hunters from all over the mountains came together last weekend to speak out against the tactics used by undercover wildlife officers in a multi-year investigation — one that presumably targeted bear poachers.
Some hunters in Western North Carolina are speaking out against the tactics used by undercover wildlife officers in a multi-year bear poaching investigation.
A longer season, a higher quota, shooting over bait piles — these are just a few aspects of the state bear hunting laws the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is looking at changing to keep the ever-growing bear population in check.
To test the public’s reaction to possible widespread changes to bear hunting laws, the agency held a series of public meetings across the state. Last week at Haywood Community College, wildlife commissioners and staff faced a crowded auditorium — including both hunters and wildlife activists.
Shock waves rippled through the mountain hunting community last week as word spread of a sweeping undercover investigation targeting dozens of illegal rogue hunters.
Last week, state and federal wildlife officers began rounding up dozens of suspected poachers in Western North Carolina, bringing to fruition an undercover investigation that spanned several years across several rural mountain counties and penetrated the heart of an illegal hunting ring that targeted black bears.
In the natural world there are certain experiences that rivet our attention and remain stored in our memory banks. Through the years, I’ve written about my own encounters with rare plants, endangered landscapes, copperheads and timber rattlers, coyotes, skunks, eagles, red and gray foxes, box and snapping turtles, and so on. Not infrequently, I’ve received feedback from readers reporting that they have had similar experiences.
A series of close bear encounters in the Pisgah National Forest have prompted a temporary ban on overnight camping in the Shining Rock Wilderness, Graveyard Fields and Black Balsam areas in Haywood County.
The restrictions took effect last Wednesday (Oct. 17), following the most recent, and possibly most frightening, bear encounter two days before when a bear made contact with a tent while campers were inside.