State officials are allowing bear hunting in one of ten mountain sanctuaries for the first time since the areas were established in 1970.
Officials say too many bears led them to open up the Mount
Mitchell Bear Sanctuary in Yancey County beginning Thursday.
Wildlife biologist Mark Jones says the program to protect the bears
has been too effective and there's a need to remove some of the
bears from the sanctuary.
Bear hunting season opens in western North Carolina next Monday.
The hunting in the Mount Mitchell Sanctuary will start Thursday and
be allowed on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays on eight weekends
between now and year's end.
Some locals oppose lifting the ban. Deer hunter Phil Sparks is opposed to lifting the ban. He says the bears shouldn't be hunted now because they're trying to put on fat for the winter. Sparks says he also doesn't like the practice of the bears being chased by packs of hounds.