MISSOURI – Another black bear hunting season is underway in Missouri, the third in state history. Hunters with a permit can venture into the wilderness for a limited time and pursue black bears.

Over the last two years, hunters have harvested a combined 20 bears. The state has allowed a select group to hunt up to 40 each year since 2021 for conservation purposes.

Bear hunting in Missouri is limited to state residents and restricted to three designated bear management zones in southern Missouri. Nearly 6,000 hunters applied for 400 permits in the spring, and hunters were selected through a random drawing.

The Missouri Department of Conservation reports the state’s black bear population has rebounded throughout the last several decades after it was once believed to be nearly extinct in the mid-1900s. MDC says Missouri’s population has been growing around 9 percent each year for a consistent period of time, almost doubling in size from a decade ago. It’s believed around 800 black bears inhabit Missouri in the present day.

Officials say the relatively new hunts are intended for conservation and population management purposes. The current hunting season began Monday and runs through next Wednesday, Oct. 25. Hunters are only allowed to harvest lone black bears and are not allowed to use a den.

For more information on MDC’s black bear hunting season, click here.