The state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted 7-0 to direct its staff to revamp the bear management plan and report back in two years. That came after a motion to hold a bear hunt this year was voted down 4-3.
Increasing black bear populations in the region have led to more frequent sightings, especially in rural areas of Providence, Kent and Washington counties.
Black bears have been sighted in all 21 counties, but their population is densest in the northwestern part of the state, including Sussex, Warren, Passaic and Morris counties.
CPW researchers conclude that increasing bear-human conflicts do not mean the bear population is growing but that bears are adapting to take advantage of urban expansion.
Every March, in three study areas of the state, crews visit dens that the Pennsylvania Game Commission has identified. They give each new cub numbered ear tags and assess the health of the cubs and the mother.
As bears emerge from hibernation, their metabolism gradually ramps up and they will begin looking for food at a time when berries and green vegetation can be scarce.
Bear hunting currently illegal in the state, but with about 6,700 black bear sightings in 2016 — a 49 percent increase over the previous year, and compared to only about 450 sightings in 2000 — population control may be needed someday
Bear totals just shy of state record