Black Bear Hunters Have Near Record Year

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 | 06:00pm

With the close of bear hunting seasons, harvest records for black bear indicate this year’s harvest may reach a second all-time high, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA).

“With a few tags still coming in, the 2006 harvest currently stands at 301,” said David Brandenburg, TWRA wildlife biologist. “Last year, the harvest reached 308, which was the second all-time high for Tennessee. The record was set back in 1997, when there was a mast (food) failure in the high mountains.”

TWRA has been expanding and lengthening bear hunting seasons over the past several years.

“Due to some management strategies put into place in the 70’s and 80’s, Tennessee black bear population is now the highest it has been in the past 100 years,” said Brandenburg. “A series of bear preserves were set up across the bear habitat where no bear hunting is allowed and the majority of the bear hunting season was set after the beginning of December, a time when female bears are in or near their den sites.”

The 2006 recorded harvest of black bear by county are as follows: Blount 13, Carter, 52, Cocke 40, Greene 19, Johnson 19, Monroe, 27, Polk 32, Sevier 39, Sullivan 17, Unicoi 33, and Washington 10.

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