First black bear hunting season announced in Missouri

Local News

Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.- The Missouri Department of Conservation has announced when the states’ first black bear hunting season will occur.

The season will be this coming fall from October 18-27.

According to the MDC, regulations, approved in a meeting Friday, will limit bear hunting to Missouri residents and restrict bear hunting to designated areas of southern Missouri.

Hunters can apply in May, and permit selection will be July 1. MDC says there will be a random drawing of applicants. The permit application period runs May 1-312 with a $10 fee per applicant. Hunters can apply here.

MDC says there are around 800 black bears south of the Missouri River and primarily south of I-44.

“MDC has established three Bear Management Zones (BMZ) in southern Missouri and will issue annual permit numbers and harvest quotas for each of the three BMZs. Each permit will be for a specific BMZ and may be used on public or private property within the BMZ,” MDC says.

Permit and harvest quotas for the upcoming Oct. 18-27 bear season will be:

  • BMZ 1: Permit quota of 200 issued with a harvest quota of 20 bears.
  • BMZ 2: Permit quota of 150 issued with a harvest quota of 15 bears.
  • BMZ 3: Permit quota of 50 issued with a harvest quota of 5 bears.

“Being able to add this iconic species to the long list of hunting opportunities for Missourians is a testament to the decades of bear research and management by MDC staff,” said MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley. “A limited annual hunting season will help manage the growing number of black bears in the state.”

Hunting hours will be 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. MDC says firearms and archery will be allowed. Baiting and the use of dogs will not be allowed.

Harvesting rules:

  • One bear per limit
  • Only lone bears can be taken
  • Hunters cannot take bears that are known to be in the presence of others bears, including female black bears with cubs
  • Do not disturb, push, harass, or take bears from a den

Hunters must wear hunter orange, make reasonable efforts to retrieve shot bears, and may not leave or abandon commonly edible portions.

MDC says all harvested bears must be telechecked by 10 p.m. on the day of harvest and must remain intact as a field-dressed carcass or quartered until the bear has been telechecked. MDC will also require the submission of a tooth from each harvested bear within 10 days of harvest. MDC says this will help with black bear research and management.

“Hunters who are issued permits must call MDC each day before they intend to hunt to determine if the BMZ-specific quota has been reached. If harvest quotas are not reached, the season will close at the end of the 10 designated hunting days,” the release states.

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