NR  Vol.10 No.7 , July 2019
Resident Perceptions of Black Bear Management in South Central Kentucky
Abstract: The growth and sprawl of the American black bear (Ursus americanus) population have been observed and monitored in the past two decades, especially in south-central Kentucky. To better manage human-black bear interaction and develop informed policy and best practices, the current study sought to 1) understand south-central Kentucky residents’ current knowledge of and previous experience with black bears, 2) investigate residents’ attitudes toward black bears and regulated hunting in wildlife management; and 3) identify residents’ level of acceptance of various black bear related management actions in south-central Kentucky. From February to April 2017, residents of London and Stearns districts (southeastern regions) of the Daniel Boone National Forest, a black bear habitat, were invited to participate in this study. The results from 139 completed surveys showed that residents lacked sufficient knowledge about black bear populations in the region and received minimal information regarding black bear management efforts. In comparison to education efforts and relocation, regulated black bear hunting could be a cost-effective option to promote responsible use of wildlife resources and black bear population control. This study provided lessons and recommendations for black bear management in south-central Kentucky and may be of utilization for any other wildlife conservation areas.
Cite this paper: Liu, H. , Bradley, M. , Wu, I. and Maples, J. (2019) Resident Perceptions of Black Bear Management in South Central Kentucky. Natural Resources, 10, 271-283. doi: 10.4236/nr.2019.107017.

[1]   Kellert, S.R., Black, M., Rush, C.R. and Bath, A.J. (1996) Human Culture and Large Carnivore Conservation in North America. Conservation Biology, 10, 977-990.

[2]   Agee, J.D. and Miller, C.A. (2009) Factors Contributing toward Acceptance of Lethal Control of Black Bears in Central Georgia, USA. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 14, 198-205.

[3]   Lakes, R.M. and Sharp, R.L. (2015) Visitor Perceptions of Black Bear Management Options in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, U.S.A. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 20, 185-187.

[4]   Spencer, R.D., Beausoleil, R.A. and Martorello, D.A. (2007) How Agencies Respond to Human-Black Bear Conflicts: A Survey of Wildlife Agencies in North America. Ursus, 18, 217-229.[217:HARTHB]2.0.CO;2

[5]   Kellert, S.R. (1994) Public Attitudes toward Bears and Their Conservation. Bears: Their Biology and Management, 9, 43-50.

[6]   Morzillo, A.T., Mertig, A.G., Hollister, J.W., Garner N. and Liu, J. (2010) Socioeconomic Factors Affecting Local Support for Black Bear Recovery Strategies. Environmental Management, 45, 1299-1311.

[7]   Decker, D.J., and Purdy, K.G. (1988) Toward a Concept of Wildlife Acceptance Capacity in Wildlife Management. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 16, 53-57.

[8]   Koval, M.H., and Mertig, A.G. (2004) Attitudes of the Michigan Public and Wildlife Agency Personnel toward Lethal Wildlife Management. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 32, 232-243.[232:AOTMPA]2.0.CO;2

[9]   Breck, S.W., Lance, N. and Callahan, P. (2006) A Shocking Device for Protection of Concentrated Food Sources from Black Bears. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 34, 23-26.[23:ASDFPO]2.0.CO;2

[10]   Gore, M.L., Knuth, B.A., Curtis, P.D. and Shanahan, J.E. (2007) Campground Manager and User Perceptions of Risk Associated with Negative Human-Black Bear Interactions. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 12, 31-43.

[11]   Siemer, W.F., and Decker, D.J. (2003) 2002 New York State Black Bear Management Survey: Study Overview and Findings Highlights. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.

[12]   Unger, D.E., Cox, J.J., Harris, H.B., Larkin, J.L., Augustine, B., Dobey, S., Guthrie, J.M., Hast, J.T., Jensen, R., Murphy, S. and Plaxico, J. (2013) History and Current Status of the Black Bear in Kentucky. Northeastern Naturalist, 20, 289-308.

[13]   Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife (2019) History of Black Bears in Kentucky, Frankfort, KY, USA.

[14]   Gore, M.L., Knuth, B.A., Curtis, P.D. and Shanahan, J.E. (2006) Education Programs for Reducing American Black Bear-Human Conflict: Indicators of Success? Ursus, 17, 75-80.[75:EPFRAB]2.0.CO;2

[15]   Murphy, S.M. (2011) Status of a Reintroduced Black Bear Population in the Big South Fork Area of Kentucky. Master Thesis, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.

[16]   Murphy, S.M., Cox, J.J., Clark, J.D., Augustine, B.C., Hast, J.T., Gibbs, D., Strunk, M. and Dobey, S. (2015) Rapid Growth and Genetic Diversity Retention in an Isolated Reintroduced Black Bear Population in the Central Appalachians. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 79, 807-818.

[17]   Garshelis, D.L. and Hristienko. H. (2006) State and Provincial Estimates of American Black Bear Numbers versus Assessments of Population Trend. Ursus, 17, 1-7.[1:SAPEOA]2.0.CO;2

[18]   Lafon, N.W., McMullin, S.L. and Steffen, D.E. (2003) Knowledge and Opinions of Stakeholders of Black Bear Management in Virginia. Ursus, 14, 55-64.

[19]   Bowman, J.L., Leopold, B.D., Vilella, F.J. and Gill, D.A. (2004) A Spatially Explicit Model, Derived from Demographic Variables, to Predict Attitudes toward Black Bear Restoration. Journal of Wildlife Management, 68, 223-232.[0223:ASEMDF]2.0.CO;2

[20]   USFS (2017) Daniel Boone National Forest Recreation Guide. Washington DC.

[21]   Estep, B. (2012) Daniel Boone National Forest Logging Proposal Withdrawn. Lexington Herald Leader, Lexington, KY.

[22]   Bradley, M.J., Sharp, R.L. and Maples, J.N. (2016) Black Bear Populations in the Ouachita Mountains Region of Oklahoma: A Case Study of Management Perceptions and Preferences of Visitors to the 2015 Beavers Bend State Park Folk Festival. Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

[23]   Liu, H.-L. and Sharp, R.L. (2018) Influence of Attitudes toward Wildlife on Preferences for Management of American Black Bears. Ursus, 29, 32-42.

[24]   Don Carlos, A.W., Bright, A.D., Teel, T.L. and Vaske, J.J. (2009) Human-Black Bear Conflict in Urban Areas: An Integrated Approach to Management Response. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 14, 174-184.

[25]   Lowery, D.R., Morse, W.C. and Steury, T.D. (2012) Biological and Social Investigation of Human-Black Bear Conflicts in the Panhandle of Florida. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 17, 193-206.

[26]   Eriksson, M., Sandstrom, C. and Ericsson, G. (2015) Direct Experience and Attitude Change Towards Bears and Wolves. Wildlife Biology, 21, 131-137.

[27]   Wolgast, L.J., Ellis, W.S. and Vreeland, J. (2005) Comprehensive Black Bear (Ursus americanus) Management Policy. New Jersey Fish and Game Council, Black Bear Policy Committee, Trenton, NJ.

[28]   Gore, M.L., Siemer, W.F., Shanahan, J.E., Schuefele, D. and Decker, D.J. (2005) Effects on Risk Perception of Media Coverage of a Black Bear-Related Human Fatality. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 33, 507-516.[507:EORPOM]2.0.CO;2

[29]   Can, O.E., D’Cruze, N., Garshelis, D.L., Beecham, J. and Macdonald, D.W. (2014) Resolving Human-Bear Conflict: A Global Survey of Countries, Experts, and Key Factors. Conservation Letters, 7, 501-513.

[30]   Treves, A., Kapp, K.J. and MacFarland, D.M. (2010) American Black Bear Nuisance Complaints and Hunter Take. Ursus, 21, 30-42.

[31]   Manfredo, M.J., Pierce, C.L., Fulton, D., Pate, J. and Gill, B.R. (1999) Public Acceptance of Wildlife Trapping in Colorado. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 27, 499-508.

[32]   Reiter, D.K., Brunson, M.W. and Schmidt, R.H. (1999) Public Attitudes toward Wildlife Damage Management and Policy. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 27, 746-758.

[33]   Ambarli, H. and Bilgin, C.C. (2008) Human-Brown Bear Conflicts in Artvin, Northeastern Turkey: Encounters, Damage, and Attitudes. Ursus, 19, 146-153.

[34]   Hristienko, H. and McDonald, J.E. (2007) Going into the 21st Century: A Perspective on Trends and Controversies in the Management of the American Black Bear. Ursus, 18, 72-88.[72:GITSCA]2.0.CO;2