Record bear harvest in 2011
A record black bear harvest if 581 was established in the 2011 hunting seasons, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency reports.
A record black bear harvest if 581 was established in the 2011 hunting seasons, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency reports. The new mark surpasses the previous mark of 573 that was set in 2009. The third all-time high for a year was 446 in 2008.
This year’s record harvest is up from the 301 bears harvested in 2010. Hunters have harvested at least 300 bears in the state for the past seven years.
Black bears were harvested in 12 East Tennessee counties in 2011. Sevier County was again the top county for harvest with 126, after having 41 harvested in 2010. Monroe County was second with 90, followed by Cocke 87, Polk 58, Carter 49, Sullivan 26, Johnson 24, Greene 21, Unicoi 20, Washington 16, and Jefferson 1.
Tennessee black bear harvest reports started in 1951. That year, there were a total of 29 bears harvested.
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.
The Agency is conducting a statewide black bear public opinion telephone survey. TWRA is exploring the possibility of making changes to its black bear management policy. The results of the survey will assist in making those decisions.
The survey is being conducted by Responsive Management. The public is encouraged to participate if they are contacted.
Since the 1970s, the number of bears has significantly increased in Tennessee. A key first step to rebuilding Tennessee’s bear population was the establishment of national forests and parks that shelter and protect the bear population. According to TWRA, the establishment of the Cherokee National Forest and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in the 1930s is undeniably the most significant event in the history of bears in Tennessee. Additionally, bear sanctuaries were established and laws against illegal harvests and the hunting of adult females were strictly enforced. In addition to these important management steps, bear populations benefited from the maturation and increased productivity of key oak forest species in protected areas. With careful management and enforcement by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and ecological conditions in their favor, their populations have responded dramatically.
Polk County News | P.O.
Box 129 | 3 Main Street | Benton TN 37307
phone: 423-338-2818 | fax: 423-338-4574 | email
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