The Missouri Department of Conservation is seeking public input on a proposed limited hunting season for black bears in the state.
The conservation department is proposing a limited hunting season for black bears in Missouri that would begin each year on the third Monday in October and run for 10 days or until management zone specific quotas are reached, whichever comes first.
Hunting hours would be a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset.
Harvest quotas for each of the three zones would be determined annually each spring. Quotas have not yet been established for the future season.
Once the specific harvest quotas are filled for each zone, the season for that area would be closed.
Hunters would need to call in each morning they intend to hunt to determine if the zone-specific quota has been reached. If harvest quotas are not reached, the season would close at the end of the 10 designated hunting days.
Hunters would be allowed to use both archery and firearms equipment with allowable methods being the same as those for deer and elk, except the use of an atlatl. Baiting and the use of dogs is not being allowed at this time but may be considered in the future.
Individuals must be Missouri residents and would only be allowed to apply once per year to hunt in one of the three designated zones.
To ensure resident landowners within a zone have an opportunity to participate in the hunt, the department would propose that a minimum of 10% of zone-specific black bear hunting permits are awarded to qualifying landowners.
To be eligible, landowners would have to have submitted their Landowner Permit Application, would need to meet the same eligibility requirements for deer and turkey landowner permits and would need to have at least 20 contiguous acres within the zone for which they are applying.
The department would issue a limited number of hunting permits for each of the three zones. Each permit would be for a specific zone and could be used on public or private property within the area.
Those selected would be eligible to buy a permit at a cost of $25. A person would need to be 11 years of age or older and have completed hunter education by the time of the hunt to purchase a permit.
The department would also require the submission of a tooth from each harvested bear within 10 days of harvest. This would help department staff with black-bear research and management.