Kentucky in a few years has gone from a state where seeing a bear was rare, to its first hunting season, to an expanded season with hunters taking 20 bruins.
The growth of the bear population and the research and management of the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources has made the hunting season possible.
The 2013 bear season that concluded this past December introduced an expanded bear hunting zone as well as an archery and crossbow season.
Both the firearm and archery/crossbow bear seasons received a 10-bear quota for the 2013 seasons for a total of 20 bears. Both quotas were filled.
Hunters can now hunt bears in 16 Kentucky counties, up from four counties in 2012.
“We are very excited that hunters met the 10 bear quota both during the new archery and crossbow season as well as the firearm season,” said Steven Dobey, bear biologist for the KDFWR. “It was gratifying to see our hunters get out there and be productive.”
Hunters harvested eight male and two female bears during the firearms bear season. They took six males and four females during the archery and crossbow bear season. No hunters harvested a bear during the bear quota hunt with dogs that ran for five days in late December after the conclusion of the firearm and archery and crossbow bear seasons.
“We had bears harvested in six counties; three of those were outside the original bear zone,” Dobey explained.
Letcher County accounted for seven bears harvested, the most of any county in the 16-county bear zone. Hunters took three bears each in Harlan, Leslie and Perry counties and two bears in both Pike and Wayne counties. All bears were taken on private land.