North Carolina legislators have filed a bill that will delay – and could ultimately stop – the brutal hunting of black bears in the state’s long-established bear sanctuaries.

Rep. Pricey Harrison and Rep. Becky Carney have introduced into the state General Assembly HB 1072, or the Prohibit Killing Bears in Bear Sanctuaries.

If passed, the bill would reverse a recent ruling to re-designate the state’s 22 bear sanctuaries instead as “bear management units” and to allow hunting in an additional three of them: Panthertown, Pisgah, and Standing Indian.

HB1072 went through a first reading on May 27 and has been referred to the Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House.

The filing is the result of public outrage at a February decision by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to approve the hunts and designation changes, despite strong opposition from more than 86 percent of the public who weighed in on the proposal.

Lady Freethinker also sent the Commission our petition, signed by more than 800 North Carolina residents and more than 40,000 people overall, denouncing the proposed killings.

The Commission’s decision kicked off 439 pages of written comment sent to the North Carolina Rules Review Committee, which by state law has to send on to the General Assembly any rule change that receives 10 letters requesting a legislative review.

While the Commission noted in its decision an increased number of human-bear conflicts, news reports have noted that human actions have contributed to those conflicts, and also that they could be prevented by less-than-lethal means – including public education and awareness campaigns and also people taking common-sense steps, like securing their garbage if they live in an area with bears.

We are now going to reroute our petition to legislators, urging them to support and pass HB 1072 and so halt this horrific plan to destroy black bears pushed already into the backcountry by human encroachment.

If you haven’t already, please sign and raise your voice for these innocent bears, who don’t deserve to die simply for existing.

SIGN: Stop Brutal Killing of Bears and Cubs in North Carolina Sanctuaries