SCI Commends the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission’s Vote in Support of a Regulated Black Bear Hunting Season

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission voted in support of a black bear hunting season beginning in December 2024.  The season will take place in the Tensas River Basin bear management area—home to the state’s largest and most rapidly expanding black bear subpopulation. Safari Club International (SCI) proudly supports this vote as it is the first black bear hunting season in Louisiana since the 1980s and recognizes the success of recovery efforts for the species.

From the early 1990s through 2016, the Louisiana black bear was listed on the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and was the only black bear species ever to be ESA listed. However, the Louisiana black bear has recovered due to strong collaboration between the state, the federal government, and private landowners. Under the state’s newest management plan, hunting is a welcome addition to the collection of appropriate management tools that help maintain the population at a healthy level and keep bears within their core habitat. 

SCI, Safari Club International Foundation (SCIF), and SCI’s Chapters have steadfastly supported Louisiana black bear recovery and conservation. 

  • SCI was the only organization to defend the 2016 removal of black bears from the ESA list and successfully obtained a dismissal of the lawsuit twice.
  • Maria Davidson, SCIF’s Large Carnivore Program Manager, has over 25 years of experience managing the black bear recovery program and is the former Large Carnivore Program Manager for the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission.
  • SCI’s Acadiana Chapter has contributed thousands of dollars to critical black bear recovery programs and incentivizing rewards for bringing bear poachers to justice. 

“We are thrilled with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission’s vote to open a black bear hunting season. The best available science has proven that regulated hunting is the only method to manage bear populations in suitable habitats,” said SCI CEO W. Laird Hamberlin. “A new season would be conducted in a manner that safeguards the long-term viability of Louisiana’s black bear population while providing a new hunting opportunity in the Sportsmen’s Paradise.”

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