2013 State’s Black Bear Harvest Passes 500
NASHVILLE --- Tennessee’s black bear harvest passed the 500-mark for the recently-completed 2013 season, again an indication that the state’s bear population is stable.
The harvest which currently stands at 507 is the third highest on record. The state record is 581 which came in 2011 and up from the 397 harvested in 2012. The harvest marks the ninth consecutive year that hunters have harvested more than 300 bears in the state. Of this year’s harvest, 318 were males.
Black bears were harvested in 11 East Tennessee counties during the recently completed season. Monroe County unseated Cocke County for the top county as 117 bears were harvested. Cocke County was second with a harvest of 76.
Blount County was third with 52, followed by Polk 50, Sevier 45, Carter 44, Unicoi 38, Johnson 33, Greene 26, Sullivan 16, and Washington 10.
Tennessee black bear harvest reports started in 1951. There were a total of 29 bears harvested that year.
Tennessee’s black bear population has been steadily increasing over the past 40 years due to several management practices put in place by TWRA. These practices include establishment of a series of bear reserves throughout the bear habitat, protection of females and cubs, and setting the majority of the bear hunting season later in the year when most females have gone to the den.