U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

March 2001


Published in Ursus 12:169–172.


Black bear (Ursus americanus) damage to coniferous forests can be detrimental to the forest products industry in Washington state. Value of timber damage, west of the Cascade Mountains is millions of dollars every year. The Washington Forest Protection Association’s (WFPA) Animal Damage Control Program (ADCP) manages bear damage in cooperation with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). Bears can significantly affect the viability of other wildlife, for example, elk (Cervus elaphus) calf predation on calving sites. Conversely, bear-damaged trees add to the snags and dead wood on the ground, which provide important habitat and feeding opportunity for cavity nesting birds and many other species. Social conflicts among forest managers, farmers, animal rights activists, and hunting organizations have escalated in the last few years because lethal black bear control is highly controversial in Washington. Law and policy changes in this state reflect these conflicts. The ADCP concentrates therefore on non-lethal control of bears but retains all lethal options, such as hound hunting, foot snares, and hunting over bait. The supplemental bear feeding program has great public support.