Two early bear hunting seasons are set to open in the coming weeks in select east Tennessee counties.
An eight-day bear season with the use of dogs is set to open in Blount, Cocke (south of I-40), Jefferson (east of 411), and Sevier counties on Monday, Sept. 30 and will conclude on Monday, Oct. 7. A similar nine-day hunt will be open in Monroe and Polk (east of 411 and north of 64) counties from Oct. 5-13.
All other east Tennessee counties listed in the 2013 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping guide will be open as well beginning Sept. 28, but for archery-only hunting without the use of dogs.
During the same early hunt in Blount, Cocke, Jefferson, and Sevier counties in 2012, a total of forty-seven bears were taken while the early hunt in Monroe and Polk counties produced fifty-four.
Special bear hunting regulations specify that the limit of bears for any person participating in the statewide or managed hunts or both shall not exceed one bear per calendar year. Cubs (75 pounds or less) or female bears with cubs at side may not be taken at any time. All harvested bears must be checked out at an official checking station (excluding internet). Bears may be whole or field dressed, but must weigh 75 pounds or greater when checked in and. The reproductive sex organs shall remain attached to each bear harvested at least until the bear has been officially checked out at an official bear checking station.
A second bear hunt with the use of dogs will open again in most open east Tennessee counties in late October.