Economics of Black Bear Damage and Control

Black bear damage to the honey industry is a significant concern. Damage to apiaries in the Peace River area of Alberta was estimated at $200,000 in 1976. Damage incidents in Yosemite National Park were estimated to be as high as $113,197 in 1975, with $96,594 resulting from damage to vehicles in which food was stored. Thirty percent of all trees over 6 inches (15 cm) tall were reported to be damaged by black bears on a 3,360 acre (1,630 ha) parcel in Washington State. In Wisconsin, one female black bear and her cubs caused an estimated $35,000 of damage to apple trees during a two-day period in 1987. In general, black bears can inflict significant economic damage in localized areas.Some states pay for damage caused by black bears. In western states, losses caused by black bears are usually less than 10% of total predation losses, although records are not complete. The extent of claims paid are not high but usually are greater than the license income that state wildlife agencies receive from black bear hunters. Deems and Pursley (1983) listed the states and provinces that pay for black bear depredations.

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