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Wildlife officials say new strategy for Utah’s bear hunt helped reduce threats to humans, livestock

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SALT LAKE CITY — Wildlife managers say a new strategy that began in 2015 is doing exactly what they’d hoped it would for Utah’s black bear population.

The new approach divides the bear hunt in Utah into six seasons, which also increases the number of people legally allowed to hunt black bears in the Beehive State.

In 2014, the year prior to the shift, government personnel had to kill 95 bears because they posed a threat to either people or livestock. In 2015, that total fell to 45 bears.

The same strategy has been approved for 2016.

“Creating all those hunts allowed us to get hunters into the field during the times of the year where they could target those bears that were going to end up in trouble later on,” said Mark Hadley of the Utah Division of Natural Resources.

The south-eastern part of Utah has the largest bear population in the state, and the DNR says they still have some concerns for that area.

Overall, they predict that the population is growing at healthy levels, which is about 5 percent every year.

For more details about hunting and pursuing black bears in Utah, visit the DNR’s website.