A Comparison of Attitudes of Hunters and Non-hunters toward Lethal Control of Black Bears in

We examined differences in hunter and non-hunter attitudes toward nuisance black bears (Ursus americanus) in Middle Georgia. We also compared preferences for different management options, specifically lethal control actions, given certain situations. A self-administered mail survey was sent to 4,000 homeowners in Bleckley, Houston, Pulaski, and Twiggs counties in Middle Georgia. We obtained a response rate of 34.6% (1,238 responses). Thirty-three percent of respondents indicated they had hunted during the 12 months prior to this study. Hunters' and non-hunters' attitudes toward black bears differed as well as concerns with potential problems associated with nuisance bears, with hunters perceiving bears as less of a threat or nuisance than non-hunters. Most respondents did not favor capture and euthanasia as a black bear management tool; however differences existed between hunters and non-hunters in their preference for management options. Management options included not calling a wildlife manager, waiting an hour before calling to see if the bear moved from their property, and trapping and relocating the bear. No differences in preference for lethal control were found between the two groups for any of the given scenarios.

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