L.D.W.F. Advises Hunters to Remain Alert, Know Basic Safety Measures for Encounters with Black Bears

Release Date: 11/12/2011

Nov. 12, 2011 -The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is advising hunters to remain alert for possible encounters with black bears during hunting season.

With Louisiana’s growing black bear population the opportunities for bear sightings and encounters with bears has increased. Additionally, bears are actively foraging at this time of year to gain weight for denning season. LDWF urges hunters to carry bear spray as a personal protection alternative to firearms.

Recent reports of black bears on Atchafalaya Delta Wildlife Management Area at the southern edge of the Atchafalaya Basin have prompted LDWF to post signage that hunters need to take necessary safety precautions when hunting in this remote location. LDWF recommends the following for all hunters on public and private hunting property:  

Basic Tips for Hunters Statewide:

  • Corn used as bait will concentrate bear activity – consider an alternative food source.  It is recommended that hunters utilize food plots such as soy beans, when possible, which will be less likely to attract bears.
  • Be aware that bears forage for mast crops and will be attracted to food sources that attract deer.  Heavy mast crop trees may become a food source that bears will defend.

If You Are Approached by a Bear While Hunting:

  • Stand your ground, raise your arms to appear larger, speak in a normal voice and make the bear aware of your presence.  Back away slowly when possible.

  • If the bear continues to approach, stand your ground.  Prepare to use your bear spray per the manufacturer’s recommendation. This product can be easily carried in a belt holster and can be obtained via the Internet.

  • Never run from a bear, as this may trigger the bear’s chase instinct.

  • If attacked by a bear, defend yourself with any available weapon.

The Louisiana black bear remains on the federal Threatened and Endangered Species List.  LDWF’s Black Bear Program needs any information hunters can provide on a close encounter with a bear. For assistance with black bears in any situation that public safety is threatened, call 1-800-442-2511 toll free, seven days a week.

For more information, contact Maria Davidson at 337-948-0255 or mdavidson@wlf.la.gov.  

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.