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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s first-ever black bear hunting season has come and gone — and state conservation officials are calling it a success.

Although the harvest had a set limit for hunters, the total fell short with just a dozen bears taken. The 10 day season was held last month.

6,300 people applied for a permit. A lottery process meant only 400 of those permits were issued. Some opponents worried the decision to allow black bear hunting was premature, given that there are just about 800 of them in the state.

“We had a quota of 40 black bears with only 12 taken and so I think that the methodology that our amazing team used to establish that bear season was very conservative at first,” said Sara Parker Pauley, MO Cons. Dir.

Missouri’s black bear population is expected to double in less than 10 years. Conservation officials plan to continue the use of a restricted hunting season to help control the growth.