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Black Bear Hunting in Kentucky - Season Dates

Black Bear Hunting in Kentucky - Season Dates

Bear Seasons

Crossbow: Nov. 19-27, 2016

Archery:  Nov. 19-27, 2016

Chase Only: Aug. 1-31, 2016

Crossbow: Nov. 19-27, 2016

Quota Hunt with Dogs: Dec. 19-23, 2016

NOTE: Seasons will end earlier if quotas are met before scheduled closing dates

CHASE-ONLY SEASON WITH DOGS

Unless license exempt, participants must purchase a Bear Chase Permit or Junior Bear Chase Permit. Bear Chase Permits are available for purchase online from July 1 – December 31.

Bears may be chased with dogs only within the Eastern, Central, and Western Bear Chase Areas. Bears shall only be chased during legal daylight hours. Hunters shall not chase bears from an area where bait is present or has been present for 30 days. Individual chase groups shall include no more than five (5) people and eight (8) dogs, except a chase party may total seven (7) people if two (2) additional youths accompany the party.

ARCHERY/CROSSBOW SEASON

Unless license exempt, hunters must purchase a Bear Permit, in addition to an Annual Hunting License. Bear Permits are available for purchase over-the-counter, by phone (1-877-598- 2401), and online.

The archery/crossbow season harvest quota is 10 bears or five (5) female bears, whichever is reached first. If either limit is reached, the season will close 30 minutes after sunset that day. Successful hunters must telecheck their bear by 8 p.m. Eastern time and also call 1-800-858-1549 within 24 hours of harvest to arrange for a physical check of the animal and receive a tag issued by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. Bears physically checked during the archery/ crossbow season must include a carcass or an intact hide that contains the skull and proof of sex.

Hunters must call 1-800-858-1549 after 9 p.m. each day of the season to check if the bear quota has been reached. If the quota has not been reached, the season will continue through next day.

MODERN GUN SEASON

Unless license exempt, hunters must purchase a Bear Permit, in addition to an Annual Hunting License.  Bear Permits are available for purchase over-the-counter, by phone, or online. the modern gun season quota is 15 bears or five (5) female bears, whichever is reached first. If either limit is reached, the season will close 30 minutes after sunset that day. Bears taken during the modern gun season must be checked immediately after leaving the field at a department operated check station by 9 p.m. Eastern time, where successful hunters will be issued a permanent tag by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. Hunters must telecheck their bear before leaving the station. Locations of check stations are available online at fw.ky.gov or by calling 1-800- 858-1549. 

Hunters must call 1-800-858-1549 after 9 p.m. on each day of the season to check if the bear quota has been reached. If the quota has not been reached, the season will continue through next day.

BEAR QUOTA HUNT WITH DOGS

Unless license exempt, hunters must purchase a Bear Permit and a Bear Chase Permit or Junior Bear Chase Permit, in addition to an Annual Hunting License. Bear Chase Permits are available for purchase on the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife website.

The harvest quota is five (5) bears of either sex. If the limit is reached, the season will close 30 minutes after sunset that day. Successful hunters must telecheck their bear by 8 p.m. Eastern time and also call 1-800-858-1549 within 24 hours of harvest to arrange for a physical check of the animal and receive a tag issued by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. Bears physically checked during the bear quota hunt with dogs season must include a carcass or an intact hide that contains the skull and proof of sex.

Hunters must call 1-800-858-1549 after 9 p.m. on each day of the season to check if the bear quota has been reached. If the quota has not been reached, the season will continue through the next day.

YOUTH-ONLY SEASON

Unless license exempt, hunters must purchase a Bear Permit, in addition to a Youth or Annual Hunting License. Bear Permits are available for purchase over-the-counter, by phone (1-877-598- 2401), and via the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife website.
 
The youth-only season harvest quota is five (5) bears of either sex. If the limit is reached, the season will close 30 minutes after sunset that day. Successful hunters must telecheck their bear by 8 p.m. Eastern time and also call 1-800-858-1549 within 24 hours of harvest to arrange for a physical check of the animal and receive a tag issued by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. Bears physically checked during the archery/ crossbow season must include a carcass or an intact hide that contains the skull and proof of sex.
 
Hunters must call 1-800-858-1549 after 9 p.m. each day of the season to check if the bear quota has been reached. If the quota has not been reached, the season will continue through next day.

Hunter Orange Requirement

Bear hunters and those who accompany them, or any other person hunting on public or private lands in the bear hunting zone during a firearm season for bears, must comply with the hunter orange clothing law. This requirement also applies to any person chasing bears during the Bear Quota Hunt with Dogs season.
 

Other Restrictions

  • Bear hunting is open to Kentucky residents only.
  • Hunters and houndsmen may not disturb or take bears from dens.
  • Bear hunting is prohibited on Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Kingdom Come State Park, and the Hensley-Pine Mountain WMA. Additionally, bear hunting within the 12,094 acres surrounding Hensley-Pine Mountain WMA and Kingdom Come State Park is limited to landowners, their spouses and dependent children hunting on their own property.
  • Hunters may not take female bears with cubs, or any bear weighing less than 75 pounds.
  • Hunters may not use bait during any bear season.Dogs may not be used to hunt bears during the archery/crossbow or modern gun seasons, but leashed tracking dogs may be used to recover wounded bears.
  • Hunters 15 years old and younger who use a firearm must be accompanied by an adult, who shall remain in a position to take immediate control of the youth’s firearm.

 

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