Kentucky Bear Season Meets Quota, Sets Record

Kentucky Dept. Fish & Wildlife, Bear Hunting Magazine

Hunters in Kentucky harvested 11 bears during the recently concluded black bear season that ran December 8-9, 2012. One of the bears set the new state record. The 410-pound male bruin was taken in Letcher County, beating the previous record black bear of 350 pounds set last year. It was field dressed, so experts believe it would have weighed more than 450 pounds beforehand.

All of the bears harvested during this season came from Harlan or Letcher counties. The highest bear densities in Kentucky lie along Pine Mountain, which stretches from the Breaks of the Russell Fork of the Big Sandy River in Pike County through Letcher and Harlan counties.

Hunters purchased 359 permits for the 2012 hunt, down from 484 permits last year. Males made up nine of the 11 harvested bears and 13 of the 17 total bears taken since bear hunting began again in Kentucky in 2009.

This year's hunt was scheduled to continue through December 10, but closed a day early after hunters reached the bear quota for the season. The 2012 season marks the first time hunters met the quota of bears in the four-year history of modern bear hunting in Kentucky.

By meeting the quota for the season, the bear quota hunt with dogs scheduled for December 17 through December 21 is now a chase-only season in which no harvesting of bears shall occur. Harvest of bears would only occur if the bear quota was not met during the regular bear season. The scheduled late bear chase season with dogs will last from December 24 through December 28, 2012. Harvest of bears is not allowed during this chase season as well.

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