Missouri’s first bear hunting season starts

JOPLIN, Mo.–Missouri hunters can officially add a new animal to their roster, with the start of a new black bear hunting season in the show me state.

“This is the first-ever black bear season in Missouri, anytime you can participate in the first-ever of something it’s kind of a special deal,” said Francis Skalicky with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

The reasoning behind the new hunting season’s creation has to do with Missouri’s growing bear population.

“Missouri’s bear population is growing at a rate of nine percent a year, that’s very good growth rate for a bear population,” Skalicky said.

And the new season to manage the growing amount of Missouri bears is still heavily regulated, just like any other hunting season.

“Don’t just go out in the woods and think, you know, I’m gonna shoot a bear today,” Skalicky said.

Hunting bears in Missouri isn’t an easy thing to do. First of all, there are only eight hundred throughout the entire state, and finding them isn’t that simple.

“We hear stories of bears getting in Barnes and bears getting in on the edge of cities, when you’re hunting for them, they disappear.”

Before any of the four hundred hunters that were drawn in the state’s raffle can go out and start looking for bears, they need to do some homework, like buying a permit and attending an orientation. Mostly because Missouri hunters have never had an opportunity like this before.

“We just wanna make sure people have all the information not only on where the bears are at but how they can process a bear, some of the many uses for bear meat, things like that.”

Skalicky says this new hunter season is no different than any other one in Missouri.

“This is all based on the basic principle of allowing hunters to harvest game but at the same time not impact population where it can’t recover. That the way all our hunting seasons are set up, bear season is no different…this isn’t a one-time deal, you know Missouri’s bear population’s growing to the point that this is an opportunity that we can offer every season. that’s good for hunters, that’s good for non-hunters, for hunters, it means they have another hunting opportunity, non-hunters it means our biodiversity has grown. we have a healthy bear population.”

This year’s hunting season will run for ten days, or until the state’s bear quota is reached.