An assessment of public attitudes toward black bears and black bear management in middle Georgia
Agee, Joshua David
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I examined public attitudes toward black bears (Ursus americanus) and black bear management in Middle Georgia using demographic variables to predict attitudes toward black bear existence and also compared attitudes of hunters and non-hunters toward nuisance black bears and the use of lethal methods to control nuisance bears. A self-administered mail survey was sent to homeowners (N = 4,000) residing in Bleckley, Houston, Pulaski, and Twiggs counties in Georgia. Results indicated that age and sex of respondents were the only strong predictors of attitudes toward black bear existence. I found differences between hunters’ and non-hunters’ attitudes toward nuisance black bears as well as preference for management options. There were no differences between hunters and non-hunters in terms of tolerance of lethal control as a management action. I recommend managers focus educational efforts on non-traditional stakeholders such as women and non-hunters.