As S. Carolina bear numbers rise, road encounters increase

This Nov. 1, 2016 photo provided by Drew Wharton shows a female black bear wearing GPS collar in Yosemite National Park. Rangers on Monday, April 3, 2017, unveiled a website that allows anybody around the world to track the movement of the park's iconic black bears. Bears are fitted with GPS collars that ping their location from a satellite onto the website, which rangers hope will educate the public about bears and ultimately protect them from harm. (Drew Wharton via AP)

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina wildlife officials are keeping an eye on the number of bears killed outside the hunting season as the state’s bear population grows and habitat encroachment increases.

The Sun News reports that wildlife experts with the state Department of Natural Resources and Clemson University say South Carolina recorded its second-highest harvest during this year’s mountain bear-hunting season, with 108 bears harvested.

Officials say harvest numbers are commensurate with the rising population, but are concerned with the number of bears killed in encounters on South Carolina roads and the potential impact.

The department says more than 30 bears have been killed along Upstate roads in 2017.

Clemson University assistant professor Shari Rodriguez says bears are a needed species and the population will thus receive close monitoring.

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