Supervisors oppose bear hunt in SLO County

Opposition is again mounting to a proposal to expand black bear hunting to San Luis Obispo County.

The county Board of Supervisors passed a resolution Tuesday opposing the expanded hunt. Environmental and humane organizations are also fighting the idea.

In their resolution, supervisors said allowing hunting of bears in the county for the first time would be an ineffective tool for managing bear populations. The state’s current depredation policies and procedures are sufficient to deal with any property damage and human safety concerns caused by bears.

“I don’t see the justification,” said Supervisor Bruce Gibson, who submitted the resolution.This is the second time the state Department of Fish and Game has proposed expanding bear hunting to the county. A similar proposal last year was shelved.

State wildlife biologists argue that the county’s bear population is robust enough to support an annual hunt. Other parts of the state with similar stable populations have hunts.

Supervisor Adam Hill said it is “inexcusable” that, for the second year in a row, the state has not scheduled a local hearing by the Fish and Game Commission to take public comment on the proposal.

Los Padres Forest Watch, a Santa Barbara-based environmental group, Big Wildlife, an anti-trophy hunting group based in Oregon, and the Humane Society of the United States also oppose the expanded hunt. They say the proposal is unscientific and does not meet legal requirements.

The commission will discuss the proposal April 8 in Monterey and is scheduled to make its ruling on the proposal via teleconference on April 21.