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Bear Regulations

Bear Reserves, Mt. Roosevelt WMA, State Parks, Scott State Forest, National Parks and Recreation Areas are closed to bear hunting unless otherwise stated.

Legal Hunting Equipment

See Manner & Means.

Taking Wild Hogs During Bear Dog Hunts: Individuals licensed to hunt bears may take wild hogs during any proclaimed bear dog hunt.

Bear Dog Training Season

The following areas are open for a bear dog training season during daylight hours only. No bears may be taken or attempted to be taken. (Bear reserves closed to dog training):

  • BHZ1 and BHZ2: Aug. 20 - Sept. 25
  • BHZ3: Sept. 7 - 16
  • BHZ4 and Transitional: Closed.
  • North Cherokee: Sept. 6 - Oct. 1
  • South Cherokee: Sept. 7 - 16

Restricted Bear Reserve Hunt

Open area: Private property located within the proclaimed boundaries of the Kettlefoot and Laurel Fork Bear Reserves.September 17-23. Archery, Muzzleloader, Gun, Dogs allowed. One bear either sex. Does not count toward statewide bag limit. Electronic check permitted.

It is now MANDATORY that a tooth sample from harvested bears be submitted.

Why should I submit this information?

Bear hunting seasons are now established in 37 counties with Bear Hunt Zone Seasons running anywhere from 28 to 66 days. These long seasons and electronic check in make it impossible for Agency personnel to physically collect enough teeth from harvested bears to monitor population and harvest trends. Voluntary tooth submission has resulted in less than a 10% reporting rate the last 2 seasons.

How do I collect a tooth?

The upper premolar is the tooth behind the canine (see photo). Using a knife or screwdriver, push the gum line toward the top of the head exposing more of the tooth. Loosen the tooth with the knife or screwdriver using the canine for leverage. This is an important step, trying to immediately pull with pliers usually results in a broken tooth. Once loose, use pliers to finish the job. Note: the entire tooth, roots included, is needed. View an instructional video on how to correctly remove and submit a bear tooth at https://youtube/gbq3P2AIY6I

Location of bear premolar. Collect both premolars and save 1 in case your first submission is lost in the mail.

Submitting the tooth

Once you have collected the tooth, fill out the bear harvest biological information form and attach it and the tooth to an index card (or similar). Note: This is an important step that reduces the number of teeth that are lost in the mail due to sorting. Drop it in an envelope and send to:

TWRA Bear Data Collection

3030 Wildlife Way

Morristown, TN 37814

Example submission of bear premolar with tooth taped to notecard.

DEADLINE: All tooth samples must be submitted by Feb. 15 following harvest of the bear.

Check the TWRA website for additional options.