Catch and release…. for bears! No it’s not a new sport, its’ a new wildlife study. I’m Susan Allen and on today’s Open Range I’ll be back with whose doing it and why . The black bear is prospering throughout much of the West. California for example now estimates they have 30,000. Their Department Fish and Wildlife biologists sited that one reason for the increase is that there are few predators, thus they developed a plan in 2010 to harvest more bears through hunting. In doing so the department raised the hackles of the Humane Society of the US who pressured the Fish and Wildlife into withdrawing their hunting proposal and to come up with a humane tactic to deal with frequent human/ bear encounters. Brown bears are rarely dangerous but they can be a nuisance when they become accustom to living near people. Up until now the only option for a bear that bugged people was to kill it but Tahoe area biologist Jason Holley is trying a different approach, catch and release to see if bears, like dogs or horses can essentially be trained and repatterned. The bear is caught, collared with a GPS devise then released outside of town. Dogs chase the bears away and the bruins are shot at with rubber bullets in the hopes they never want another encounter with civilization. This year seven bears have been released with tracking collars, with the goal being fifteen more. So far results are encouraging, one collared bear took off into a wild area and hasn’t been seen since. While it’s too soon to see if “catch and release” works long term Holley hopes that his study will have statewide and possibly national implications.