Tennessee On The Way To A Record Bear Harvest

Monday, November 5, 2018

Just over halfway through the 2018 black bear hunting season, Tennessee hunters have already harvested 551 black bears since the season opened on September 22. The record of 589 black bears was set in 2011.

 

TWRA Black Bear Program Leader Dan Gibbs points towards a spotty acorn crop this year to account for the high harvest.

Simply put, the more that bears have to move in search of food, the more susceptible they are to being located by hunters.  In 2011, biologists say there was a mast failure of acorns in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park forcing bears to leave protected areas and onto the national forests or private lands where they could be hunted.  For example, Sevier Co., which borders a large boundary of the GSMNP, accounted for about 20% of the total bear harvest that year.  Gibbs also mentions that the high harvest so far this year reflects an increasing black bear population.  While it's hard to put an exact number on the total number of bears in Tennessee, it's estimated to be at about 7,000 animals.  TWRA is conducting a black bear population study with the states of Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and South Carolina to get a better estimate of bear numbers across the southern Appalachians. "We are basically utilizing a mark/recapture method to identify and estimate black bear densities," says Gibbs. Tennessee's part of the study should be completed by the summer of 2019. 

 

Other signs of an increasing black bear population are evident through re-colonization into their former range, including the Cumberland Plateau. As a result, TWRA created a new Bear Hunting Zone in several Cumberland Plateau continues and has seen an increase in harvest since the first archery only season opened in 2014. In fact, archery hunters in Fentress Co. took 50 black bears with archery equipment this year alone. All hunting segments in the Cumberland Plateau area have concluded this year however a few hunts still remain in other Bear Hunting Zones in East Tennessee. One still hunt (without the use of dogs) remains from Nov. 17-20 in Bear Hunt Zones 1-3 followed by a segment with the use of dogs Nov. 26-Dec. 15 in BHZ 1; Nov. 26-Dec. 20 in BHZ 2 and Nov. 26-Dec. 9 in BHZ 3. The final segment of the 2018 black bear hunting season will be held Dec. 27-30 and is only open in BHZ 3.  So far, Cocke Co. leads the state with 92 bears harvested followed by Monroe Co. with 89 and Blount Co. with 67. 

 

For more details about black bear hunting in Tennessee, refer to page 36 of the Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide at https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/twra/documents/huntguide.pdf

 

Harvest reports and biological data for Tennessee's big game species can be researched online at:

https://hunterstoolbox.gooutdoorstennessee.com/?reportId=210#Harvest_Reports



Online Registration Available For Free Trapper Training Camps

Bipartisan Legislation Introduced To Address National Park Service Maintenance Backlog

A Day Of Gardening Program Offered Feb. 23


Online registration is continuing for the first of two free trapper training camps to be hosted by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Tennessee Fur Harvesters. The first camp ... (click for more)

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Mark Warner (D-VA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Angus King (I-ME) introduced the Restore Our Parks Act, bipartisan legislation that would address the nearly $12 billion ... (click for more)

The Tennessee Federation of Garden Club, Inc.-District III is sponsoring the eighth annual "A Day of Gardening" seminar on Saturday, Feb. 23 from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, ... (click for more)


Outdoors

Online Registration Available For Free Trapper Training Camps

Online registration is continuing for the first of two free trapper training camps to be hosted by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Tennessee Fur Harvesters. The first camp is at TWRA’s Buffalo Ridge Refuge in Humphreys County on Feb. 22-24. The second camp is at TWRA’s Hiwassee Refuge in Meigs County near the Hamilton County community of Birchwood on March 15-17. ... (click for more)

Bipartisan Legislation Introduced To Address National Park Service Maintenance Backlog

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Mark Warner (D-VA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Angus King (I-ME) introduced the Restore Our Parks Act, bipartisan legislation that would address the nearly $12 billion backlog in long-delayed maintenance projects at the National Park Service (NPS). Other original cosponsors include Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kamala Harris ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Sanford Found Innocent Of 2000 Strangulation Murder In East Ridge

A Criminal Court jury on Friday night found Jason Sanford not guilty in the 2000 strangulation death of an East Ridge woman. The defense put on no proof. Sanford spent two and a half years in jail awaiting trial in the Cold Case. Earlier on Friday, a Michigan man gave a deathbed statement that his first cousin had admitted killing Sarah Davis Perry. The jury heard ... (click for more)

Trio Charged In Armed Robbery Of Dunkin Doughnuts On Highway 58

Three men have been charged with the robbery of the Dunkin Doughnuts on Highway 58 on Wednesday night. Charged with aggravated robbery were Justin Marcus Brakefield, 29, of 7310 Standifer Gap Road, Demarketh King, 30, of 4613 Locksley Lane, and Xavior Travon Robinson, 18, of 3606 Locksley Lane. An employee said three males walked into the business through a back door that ... (click for more)

Opinion

Bill Passes Senate That Preserves Tennessee's Natural Beauty And Historical Sites

This week, the U.S. Senate passed sweeping legislation that will preserve Tennessee’s natural beauty and protect our historical sites. I have seen first-hand how a popular park or museum can provide a recreation or educational experience for Tennesseans. But these sites can also help local economies by attracting tourism, which brings with it jobs and tax dollars to Tennessee. ... (click for more)

How Do We Progress With This President? - And Response (2)

I try so hard to not say things detrimental to our government, I love my country but I am so ashamed by the president we now tolerate. When is it going to be said enough is enough? Today, he declared an emergency declaration to move billions of dollars of possible worthy endeavors in our countries budget to fight illegal immigration to build his wall. I will compare 20 to 1 the ... (click for more)