First bear hunt nears


Scott County’s first-ever bear hunt will open Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014.

The archery-only hunt will be open on private lands west of U.S. Hwy. 27, as well as in neighboring Morgan and Fentress counties. The Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area and Scott State Forest fall within the hunt zone, but are excluded from the hunt.

The limit is one bear per hunter per year. The bear must weigh at least 75 lbs. (cubs are off-limits), and cannot be a sow with a cub at her side.

The hunt will continue through Oct. 24.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency voted earlier this year to establish the North Cumberland Bear Hunting Zone — consisting of Pickett (east of U.S. Hwy. 111), Fentress, Morgan, Cumberland and Scott (west of U.S. Hwy. 27) counties — after research concluded that the region’s black bear population continues to expand. Some reports indicated that the black bear density within the Big South Fork NRRA rivals the black bear density in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Scott County will also have a quota elk hunt — the hunters have already been chosen by the state — in October, making Scott County the only place in Tennessee (and one of only a handful of places east of the Mississippi River — the rest being in eastern Kentucky) where elk and bear can both be hunted.

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