Black bear program background information

In Utah, as in most states, black bears (Ursus americanus) have only recently begun to shed their reputation as a dangerous and costly predator. In 1967, black bears were classified as game animals and regulations were set to govern their harvest.

Very little is known of the historical status and distribution black bears in Utah. Since 1981, hunters have been required to have their bears checked by the Division of Wildlife in order to obtain improved management information. Realizing the sensitivity of bears to hunting pressure and the increasing interest in hunting bear, two specific research projects were initiated in 1986 to gather detailed information on density, food habits and habitat use in both non-hunted and heavily hunted populations. Data from these studies will help to evaluate habitat throughout the state and will determine the potential of these habitats to support bears.

Hunting black bears has become increasingly popular in Utah as hunters discover bears are wary, difficult to take, good eating, and a trophy animal. Several Utah black bears are currently listed in the Boone and Crocket record books. Interest in black bear hunting is expected to continue rising. The number of hunting permits has increased from 43 sold in 1969 to 209 in 1995. In addition to interest shown by hunters, a growing number of non-consumptive users are recognizing the aesthetic values of a healthy bear population. Bears represent wilderness, areas with minimal disturbance, and quality habitat to an increasing number of people.

The goal

Manage Utah black bear populations consistent with habitat, biological and social constraints and to meet the needs of the resource and the resource user.

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