I think what northernbcr is referring to here is Tim Bedore's animal conspiracy theory.

Ok, I deserve a slap on the wrist for that one...done.

Seriously though, I agree with others here that argue that bear behavior varies regionally. First my disclaimer: I do not have extensive bear experience, I have only seen a few and read "Bear Attacks Their Causes and Avoidance" by Stephen Hererro. Now with that said, I'll address the area I know best which is the SE. In general the bears in this area avoid human contact. Sure there's been some attacks and at least one fatality (the one in the Smokys), but do you realize how many people hike trails down in this area? And yes, bears are hunted in a good portion of the SE (including in the national forests), so I find it hard to believe that doesn't have some bearing (no pun intended) on their reclusive behavior.

At any rate, I'm not trying to stir you up again nothernbcr as I don't disagree with your main point, which I think is that we have to be informed about bears and take necessary precautions when hiking (which is proper food storage in my opinion). I just wanted to note that I disagree with your generalization that bear behavior in your area is applicable everywhere.