349 applications were received for the lottery draw of 100 permits for the Dismal Swamp’s December bear hunt. This will be the first bear hunt in the Dismal Swamp on the Virginia side in a longtime. This is prime bear habitat and its great to see the population is doing so well that hunting as a management tool needs to be utilized.

 Studies estimate the swamp’s bear population to be between 275 and 350, a number wildlife officials say won’t be severely affected by a hunt. Officials are capping at 20 the maximum number of bears to be killed.

“We have a healthy and thriving population,” said Bob Duncan, wildlife division director for Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. “The black bear is a very adaptable critter. Very resilient. They’re just continuing to expand.”

Of course not everyone is happy with the hunt

 “Black bears are beautiful, gentle creatures, and we want the government to allow them to live in peace on the wildlife refuges,” said Stephanie Boyles, a wildlife biologist for Norfolk’s People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Link to Daily Press VA