GRIMESLAND, PITT COUNTY - There were three bears illegally killed in Beaufort, Greene and Pitt counties following the November 11th - 16th bear season in our state. However, one Pitt County man says the bear population is still out of control and something needs to be done.
With the next bear season (Dec. 16th - 28th) approaching in those counties, one local man claims the seasons don't allow enough time for hunters to harvest bears. Randy Adams, owner of Paradise Outdoors in Grimesland, says there are dozens of bears behind his home. "You might see six or eight bear in one afternoon there," he said.
Adams says bears have come dangerously close to him and his family. "I've had bear actually take the tree, stand on it, wrap their arms around it and start coming up, and I yell at 'em and say 'hey that's my tree! Go find your own tree'," he said.
Adams says the bears are constantly destroying his property; anywhere from tree stands, to ATVs, to crops on his property. "Five, six hundred pound bear, we've got several of those in here," he said.
Adams believes there are a large number of bears from behind his home, through the woods all the way up to D.H. Conley High School. He says he's "looking at the human factor as much as anything. I mean, they're close to home."
While searching we found fresh bear droppings, as well as bear stuck in splintered wood where a bear had marked a tree stand.
Adams has a simple solution to help control the population. He says allowing hunters to take bears during the September/October bear season would keep the population under control because "that's when you see 'em the most, you don't even need any bait. I know where the trails are, they come in through the corn field, and you can actually get a shot on 'em there. That would help as much as anything."
Wildlife officials didn't say the bear population was out of control, but did say they're looking at ways to change the way people can hunt them. They have approved a proposal to go to public hearing in January that would allow hunters to bait bears.
Those officials say they only change one regulation at a time, then wait three years to see how it effects the bear population.
They look at bear harvest numbers, as well as hunter testimony and the harvested bears themselves to determine the bear population.
Bear season runs from November 11th to January 1st in Carteret, Duplin, Onslow, Pamlico and Pender counties.
In Beaufort, Craven, Greene, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Pitt, Tyrrell and Washington counties the season is split. It runs from November 11th to the 16th, then from December 16th to the 28th.
Bertie County's bear season goes from November 9th to the 16th, then December 16th to the 28th.
There were 51 bears harvested in Pitt County in the 2012 - 2013 season.
Tyrrell County had the highest bear harvest in 2012 - 2013 with 216. Hyde was second with 210, followed by Beaufort with 169.