Two Bears Mistaken for Feral Hogs in Louisiana

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The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is reminding hunters going afield for the holidays that the state's black bear population has become more widespread over the last decade. Additionally, as feral hogs increase in numbers across the state, hunters are reminded that target identification is a critical factor in hunter safety and a basic component of legal game harvest.

The similarity of appearance of darker colored feral hogs and black bears was allegedly a factor in the accidental killing of a female black bear and her cub on the Red River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in November.

An additional dead black bear was found by a hunter on the Red River WMA on Dec. 3. That bear was identified by LDWF as a yearling female cub that had been moved with its mother to Red River WMA as part of the multi-agency Louisiana Black Bear Repatriation Project.

Maria Davidson, Large Carnivore Program Manager for LDWF noted "the department is working aggressively to remove the Louisiana black bear from the Endangered Species List. The loss of these animals is regrettable and our Enforcement Division is working aggressively to locate the poacher responsible for this crime."

Since 2001, the Repatriation Project has moved 48 adult female black bears with 104 cubs from the dense black bear population in the Tensas River Basin to the area called the Red River Complex, totaling 179,604 acres, which includes Grassy Lake, Red River, Three Rivers and Spring Bayou Wildlife Management Areas and Lake Ophelia National Wildlife Refuge. The Repatriation Project was initiated to help rebuild the historic population of black bears in central Louisiana.

Citizens are reminded that killing a bear is a violation of both state law and the federal Endangered Species Act. Violators are subject to penalties of up to $50,000 and six months in jail. In addition, a civil restitution fine of $10,000 per bear will be imposed on anyone convicted of killing a black bear in Louisiana.

Persons with information regarding the killing of any black bear are urged to call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-442-2511. Cash rewards up to $5,000 are offered for information leading to the arrest of any individuals harming a black bear, and callers will remain anonymous.