California Bill to Ban Bear Hunting Proposed

While black bear populations are booming in California, one state lawmaker wants to ban bear hunting. (Photo: GA)

Editor’s Update (2/2/2021): SB 252 was withdrawn this week. Citing the COVID-19 pandemic and other more pressing issues, Catie Stewart, a spokesperson for Sen. Wiener told The Sacramento Bee, “this isn’t the time to focus on this right now.”

However, the real catalyst that led Wiener to back off may have been the immense pressure he received from hunters and pro-2A advocates. In a few short days, more than 27,000 people signed a petition opposing Wiener’s ban on bear hunting.


A California senator has proposed a ban on bear hunting in the state, prompting backlash from people and hunters in the surrounding community. Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat largely representing San Francisco, introduced Senate Bill 252, “The Bear Protection Act” with an endorsement from the Humane Society of the United States.

While the bill leaves intact provisions for killing bear to protect people and property or for the advancement of science, it would criminalize bear hunting in general. Black bears are not endangered, in fact, the state’s population is booming, with an estimated 40,000 bears according to wildlife experts.

Despite the increasing encroachment of bear populations into human habitats across California, Weiner defended his bill, saying, “Over the past few years, black bears have faced unprecedented habitat loss due to climate change and wildfires, and continued sport hunting in California makes survival an even tougher climb,” he said. “It’s time we stop this inhumane practice once and for all.”

California currently issues 1,700 permits for bear per year, with wildlife officials petitioning the state to increase that number up 300 to as high as 2,000 per year. Wardens are warning that bear populations, particularly in the Lake Tahoe region, are some of the densest in the country, and they are becoming increasingly apathetic and even aggressive to human habitation.

California wildlife experts are calling to increase the number of bear tags, but this new bill would eliminate bear hunting. (Photo: Cali. Leg.)

The Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) say it officially opposes Senate Bill 252.

“[The] RCRC believes there is no scientific basis or practical necessity for SB 252, particularly since black bear hunting is already regulated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW),” the organization said in a statement. “In fact, CDFW data demonstrates that the black bear in California is flourishing, while rural communities struggle to control black bear populations to ensure the safety of their residents.”

See Also: California Reps. Call Gun-Carrying Congresspeople ‘Unhinged,’ Introduce Bill to Ban Guns

“If SB 252 were to become law, RCRC member counties would be deprived of their only recourse for continual public safety through seasonal population control,” they added.

“In addition, RCRC member counties would have to navigate an often inefficient bureaucracy for obtaining depredation permits, and relying on insufficient actions by state and federal agencies to do the work that hunters have done capably in rural areas for centuries,” they continued.

California hunters should contact their state representatives and voice their opposition to SB 252.

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About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Gus February 3, 2021, 2:36 pm

    Bear management has been politically driven in Ontario, Colorado, New Jersey, Florida, Alberta, and British Columbia. The biological and community problems of unregulated bear populations have brought most back to using hunting as a management tool. The same will likely be true in California if hunting is eliminated. A population of 40,000 could easily support a 2-4% removal by legal sport hunting so this is not a question of sustainability.

  • Davis February 2, 2021, 11:13 am

    So this Senator is waiting for Bear mauling which will haunt his reelection bid???

  • AK February 2, 2021, 10:11 am

    I have little doubt the closest Mr. Weiner has been to a bear is the Steiff stuffy his boy-partner gave him to cuddle after a nice top-n’-bottom session….

    • KO February 3, 2021, 9:02 pm

      😀 !!! so beautifully inappropriate.

  • Dave Opyrchal February 2, 2021, 8:58 am

    another senator that has no clue of what he is speaking of. way to go wiener

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