Personally, I'm not into the idea of hunting bear.
However, according to DFG statistics, the populations are large, growing, and perfectly sustainable even with hunting.
That is, if you believe their science. I'm sure many here will debate it.
1,700 bear tags are issued each year. Bear hunting season ends when 1,700 bears have been killed or we reach Dec. 27th, 2009, whichever comes first.
Despite the enormous amount of tags purchased each year, very few people who buy them actually kill a bear. And from what I understand, the 1,700 bear limit is rarely reached- season usually closes on Dec. 27th first.
If 1,700 seams like a huge number (I certainly think it is), keep in mind the last DFG estimate I heard was that there are 25,000 to 30,000 black bears in California.
Habitat loss surely poses a greater threat than hunting ever will.
As for why? Meat, bravado, trophies, all of the above....none of the above...talk to a bear hunter.
As for whether or not it's right...that's a whole new bag of worms.
I don't like the idea of killing bear; I think they're too cool. But what about big bucks? Elk? Quail? Native salmon? Wild trout?
They're all really beautiful, amazing, unique animals....
So what should we be hunting then?
Should we even be hunting?
Should we even be eating meat?
A giant bag of worms indeed....
Oh, and one more number to throw in (if it matters):
The CA success rate for hunting bear is around 7%...that is, only 7% of all hunters who pruchase tags actually kill a bear.