The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife has approved a brief bear hunting season starting Saturday.
The hunt will last through the day Saturday, or until ten bears or five female bears have been killed. Licensed hunters have a limit of one bear each, and can hunt in Letcher, Harlan and Pike Counties.
Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Mark Marraccini says the hunt was approved because the black bear population is large enough to sustain it.
“Kentucky’s bear population, especially in those three counties, has really grown tremendously in the last 10 to 15 years,” he says.
Marraccini estimates there are about 300 bears in Kentucky. He says more hunts may come in the future if the population remains high.
“As long as the biology and the management practices suggest the bear population is healthy enough to sustain hunts, then certainly there could be other hunts in the future,” he says.
This is the first legal bear hunt in Kentucky in modern times.