MISSOURI – Hunters harvested eight black bears during Missouri’s bear-hunting season, lower than the inaugural season last year.

Missouri’s second season began Oct. 17 and ended Wednesday. This year’s total is down from 12 black bears harvested last year. Hunters harvested an even ratio of male and female bears, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.

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Bear hunting in Missouri is limited to state residents and restricted to three designated Bear Management Zones in southern Missouri. Nearly 6,000 hunters applied for 400 permits in the spring, and hunters were selected through a random drawing.

The Missouri Department of Conservation had allowed a maximum harvest of 40 bears.

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“We anticipated a lower harvest this season over last,” said MDC Bear Biologist Nate Bowersock. “Bears love gorging on acorns in the fall and the acorn crop around the state was much more plentiful this season over last. This resulted in bears moving less often and being more dispersed, which made it more difficult for hunters to find them.” 

With the black bear population increasing in Missouri, MDC recently launched a highly-regulated hunting season for population management purposes. To learn more about black bear hunting in Missouri, click here.