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DEC to expand bear hunting

The state Department of Environmental Conservation announced last week that it will expand opportunities for bear hunting in New York.

DEC plans to open areas for hunting in parts of eastern New York, as well as establish uniform bear hunting season dates across the state's Southern Zone.

DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said the new regulations would start in time for hunting season this fall.

The expanded bear hunting opportunities are expected to help contain a ballooning bear population throughout the state, according to Martens. He said the black bear's range is expanding and that better population management is needed to help "alleviate agricultural and homeowner conflicts with bears."

Martens said sport hunting is the only cost effective tool for managing games species on a landscape scale.

The proposed changes would open bear hunting in all of Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Columbia, Rensselaer, and Washington counties, and a portion of Rockland that was not already open for black bear hunting.

Public comments on the changes will be accepted by DEC through July 5.

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