Missouri’s first black bear hunting season begins today


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri’s first black bear hunting season begins Monday, October 18.

The Department of Conservation gave approval for the hunt last spring. It runs for ten days. It is only open to Missouri hunters and in designated parts of southern Missouri.

Officials said the state’s black bear population has been growing over the last several years. They said a well-regulated hunt will help manage that number.

“So our bear population has been growing steadily over many, many decades. We have good survival and high reproduction so right now it’s estimated at about 800 bears in the state and growing at about 9% annually so with that growth rate we’d expect it to double in about a decade,” said Laura Conlee, furbearer and black bear biologist. 

Hunters had to apply and 400 bear tags were drawn randomly. 

Three bear management zones were formed with harvest quotas of 20, 15, and five bears.  

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