The New York Department of Environmental Conservation has released a draft its Black Bear Management Plan, which includes a proposal to expand bear hunting opportunities in the Catskills.

Stating that black bears can pose significant challenges when they become too abundant or are acting boldly in populated areas, the DEC's draft plan has five primary goals:

1) maintain bear populations at levels acceptable to the public
2) promote and enhance bear hunting as an important management tool
3) minimize the frequency and severity of human-bear conflicts
4) foster understanding and communication about bear ecology, management, and conflict avoidance
5) ensure the necessary resources are available to support effective management of black bears in New York

The plan includes proposals to expand bear hunting opportunities in many wildlife management units, especially in the Catskills and western Hudson Valley where in recent years human-bear conflicts have become more common and pose a serious threat to human safety and property. The full draft can be read here.

Comments on the draft bear plan may be submitted in writing through February 21, 2014 to: NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, Bear Management Plan, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754 or by e-mail to (please type "Bear Plan" in the subject line).