LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas was nicknamed “The Bear State” in its founding years, and now a state agency wants bear info.

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is asking any south Arkansas property owners or leasers who have info about female bears on their property to contact them. The intent is to find 15 bears in Zone 4, the southern part of the state, which will be outfitted with GPS collars.

This is the first time GPS collars will be used instead of the previous radio-transmitter collars.

“We’re looking for any landowners who have female bears that might be showing up at feeders in Gulf Coastal Plain counties,” Myron Means, large carnivore program coordinator for the commission said. “We’re looking for landowners or leasees willing to let us trap and place collars on female bears in Ashley, Bradley, Calhoun, Clark, Cleveland, Columbia, Drew, Nevada, Ouachita and Union counties.”

Collared bears are legal to harvest during the season throughout Arkansas. Collared bears which are harvested are used to help plot harvest effects. The study is expected to run three to four years.

“The added work in collaring bears during summer is just part of the tradeoff to make sure we can have a healthy bear population as well as expanded hunting opportunities for Arkansans,” Means said.