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Thursday, December 9, 2021
Outdoors Hunters harvested only four bears in Scott County this year

Hunters harvested only four bears in Scott County this year

Archery season ended on Oct. 29

There were a total of four bears harvested in Scott County and 17 in Fentress County during the archery hunt that ended on Friday, according to data made available by the TN Wildlife Resources Agency. That's in line with the past several years. After killing 19 bears in 2015 and 15 in 2016, Scott County hunters have only harvested a total of 21 bears in the five years since. The season is open annually for bow hunters on private lands west of U.S. Hwy. 27.

Yet again in 2021, archery hunters hardly made a dent in Scott County’s black bear population.

Only four bears — two boars and two sows — were killed by Scott County hunters during the archery hunt, according to data made available by the TN Wildlife Resources Agency.

The archery-only bear hunt is open each year from the start of the archery season for whitetail deer through the Friday preceding the state’s youth deer hunt in late October. In Scott County, the season is open on private lands west of U.S. Hwy. 27. The Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area is considered a black bear sanctuary and is off limits to bear hunters. Cubs weighing 75 lbs. or less — and sows with cubs by their sides — are also off limits to hunters.

Scott County’s bear harvest pales in comparison to Fentress County, where 17 bears were harvested. That has become the norm since the northern Cumberland Plateau bear hunt began in 2014. Only once in eight years has Scott County’s bear harvest exceeded Fentress County’s. In 2018, Scott County hunters harvested six bears, while Fentress County hunters harvested a whopping 50 bears.

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After a slow start in 2014, Scott County hunters killed 19 bears during the 2015 hunt and 15 during the 2016 hunt. But the numbers have been much lower since then. No bears were harvested in Scott County in 2017, and there have only been a total of 21 bears harvested in the four years since then, including no more than six in any individual year.

So far, there has been no indication that TWRA will expand the bear hunt to include lands east of U.S. 27. There has been some indication that the agency would like to expand the hunt to include the Big South Fork NRRA, but the NPS has remained adamant that the 125,000-acre national park will always remain off limits for bear hunting.

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Independent Herald
Contact the Independent Herald at newsroom@ihoneida.com. Follow us on Twitter, @indherald.
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