I was in my office when the press release came in from the NYSDEC, announcing new areas for bear hunting were being opened this fall. I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw WMU 7M and Chenango County were included. I'd been of the belief that it would be several years before bears would be legal game in Chenango County, once densities grew to what DEC felt were adequate to support hunting them. Apparently they are already, or at least the wildlife managers felt so. The DEC estimates there are 6,000 to 7,000 black bears statewide, but that is an estimate, so it could be higher or lower on any given year.