North Carolina Bear Sanctuaries Open to Hunting

Three bear sanctuaries in North Carolina will be open for limited hunting for the first time in decades due to overpopulation.

North Carolina Bear Sanctuaries Open to Hunting

Due to an escalating black bear population, three sanctuaries will be open to limited hunting in North Carolina. Photo: Vamosi

The Panthertown-Bonas Defeat, Standing Indian and Pisgah Bear sanctuaries will be open to black bear hunting this year for the first time since 1971. The move was approved by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission in February. The commission said it was asked by the U.S. Forest Service to consider opening the areas due to an increase in the bear population to about 15,000 along with human-bear interactions. Hunters will be limited to one bear per season, along with other restrictions. 

Opponents are working to delay or stop the hunts, citing rogue individual bears and the need for more review and study. One such group, the nonprofit Friends of Panthertown, said it has “requested a delay pending legislative review.”


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