An Iowa House subcommittee moved House File 2133 forward. The bill designates black bears as a game animal and provides them protection outside of an open season established by the Natural Resource Commission.
Interested parties attending the meeting were supportive of the measure.
Representative Dave Jacoby, who sponsored the bill, spoke about it. He said he drafted the bill so it will protect black bears if they make their natural habitat in Iowa and also to have an open hunting season.
“I’m not scared of bears,” Jacoby said. “Well, sometimes I could be scared of bears. Out in the woods, I’m not so scared because you can yell, bang a pan. It is a little scary when they’re trying to crawl in the window of your cabin. Then I’ll admit I’m a little scared.
There have been black bear sightings in Northeast Iowa. And, while it is unconfirmed, Jacoby said there’s a rumor that a family of black bears is in Iowa.
Representative Norlin Mommsen asked if, hypothetically, the hunting season starts Nov. 1 and a black bear is getting into his chicken coup the first of July, what is the recourse.
Representatives from the DNR said it’s a depredation issue and would be treated the same way as deer eating corn.
Mommsen asked more directly what his options would be if he felt threatened. He was told just to have a call the conservation office and let them know about the situation.