Bears are a pretty common sight in parts of East Tennessee, but one viewer had questions about bear hunting season. 

The state said bear hunting season started Sept. 28 and runs until Dec. 29. 

However, dogs are only allowed on certain dates in certain zones.

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bear hunting zones
WBIR
  • No dogs are allowed in all zones from Sept. 28 to Oct. 25 for archery hunting
  • Dogs are allowed for gun, muzzleloader and archery hunting in Zone 2 on Oct. 12-18
  • Dogs are allowed for gun, muzzleloader and archery hunting in Zone 3 on Oct. 5-13
  • Dogs are allowed for gun, muzzleloader and archery hunting in Zone 1 on Oct. 5-7 and Oct.12-13
  • No dogs are allowed for gun, muzzleloader and archery hunting in Zones 1, 2 and 3 for Young Sportsman (ages 6-16) on Oct. 26-27
  • Dogs are allowed for gun, muzzleloader and archery hunting in Zones 1, 2 and 3 on Oct. 28 - Nov. 1 
  • No dogs are allowed for gun, muzzleloader and archery hunting in Zones 1, 2 and 3 on Nov. 23-26
  • Dogs are allowed for gun, muzzleloader and archery hunting in Zone 3 on Dec. 2-15 
  • Dogs are allowed for gun, muzzleloader and archery hunting in Zone 1 on Dec. 2-21
  • Dogs are allowed for gun, muzzleloader and archery hunting in Zone 2 on Dec. 2-26
  • Dogs are allowed for gun, muzzleloader and archery hunting in Zone 3 on Dec. 26-29

Just remember, the bag limit is one bear per license year. Cubs under 75 lbs and female bears with cubs are off-limits.

All harvested bears must be checked out at an official checking station - not online or through an app.

You cannot hunt in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, private property or bear reserves. 

The reserves are in:

  • Andrew Johnson Bear Reserve
  • Kettlefoot Bear Reserve
  • Laurel Fork Bear Reserve
  • Unicoi Bear Reserve
  • Ocoee Bear Reserve
  • Tellico Bear Reserve

For more information on Tennessee's Hunting Seasons or on the bear season regulations, visit TWRA's website.

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