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Bear Regulations

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. 19–Sept. 24
  • BHZ3: Sept. 6–15
  • BHZ4 and Transitional: Closed.
  • North Cherokee: Sept. 5–30
  • South Cherokee: Sept. 6–15

Restricted Bear Reserve Hunt

Open area: Private property located within the proclaimed boundaries of the Kettlefoot and Laurel Fork Bear Reserves. September 16–22. 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.

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

Image showing location of upper premolar on a bear skull.

Submitting the tooth

Once you have collected the tooth, fill out the form below 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 bear tooth submission with tooth taped to notecard.

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

Check the TWRA website for additional options.