December 29, 2010
Bruin is First Legally Tagged Black Bear out of Kentucky in 100 Years
By David Maccar
A two day season in 2010 has yielded the first black bear tagged in Kentucky in about 100 years and the fish and wildlife department there is calling it a milestone in wildlife management.
From this story on ISurfNews:
The bear population in Kentucky has increased to the point that wildlife officials scheduled a two-day legal bear hunt. Last December was the first legal hunt in about a hundred years. 372 hunters bought permits, but a snow storm left several hunters stranded and no bears were reported taken.
The 2010 season was December 18 and 19. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife planned the hunt for late in the season, to limit harvesting of females. According to wildlife officials, females typically den earlier than males.
On Saturday, December 18, Danny Smith, of Phelps, shot a 265 pound male, after hunting for about 5 hours.
According to fish and wildlife, "The return of a hunting season for black bears in Kentucky is a wildlife management milestone. In the early 20th century, most big game animals had disappeared or were at historically low population levels. Today, all the state’s native big game species, except for bison, have increased to huntable population levels."
Kentucky's bear population was established by natural range expansion, not by planned restocking efforts. Bears migrated from neighboring states, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee. Kentucky is reported to have two populations of bears, one in the Pine Mountain area and one in Big South Fork National River and Recreational area.
The harvest quota for the 2010 season was 10 bears total - or five female bears - whichever limit hunters reach first. Two bears were taken during the second legal bear hunt in the modern era. Billy Joe Dixon, of Cumberland, took a 280-pound male on December 19.