TN 2008 Harvest Looking Good So Far

WBIR, Bear Hunting Magazine

The past few years have kept East Tennessee's check stations busier than they were once used to.

"The biggest one we checked in this year weighed 598 pounds. It was killed in the September hunt there," Austin Green of Greeen's Mercantile said. "It's a pretty good size bear. In a small pickup it's over the bed about two feet while laying on it's stomach."

In 2006, hunters killed 308 bears in Tennessee. The year 2007 saw 336 harvested. Already this hunting season (2008), hunters have claimed more than 150 bears. TWRA officials say it is very early in the season as the majority of bear hunting does not happen until December.

There is a chance Tennessee could set a new record. The current record is 370 bears hunted in 1997.

"I don't know if it's good or bad either way, but I think TWRA will control it. If the population gets down they're going to cut out some of the hunts," Green said.

The reason TWRA keeps the majority of the hunting season in December is because female bears typically hibernate sooner than males. So, if hunters are in the woods in December, the majority of the bears out moving around will be males while the females sleep semi-protected in their dens.

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