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Black bear hunting opens in parts of East TN

After a push from TWRA, the Tennessee Fishing and Wildlife Commission approved a wider hunting season of black bears.
Map of Bear hunt expansion.

ID=9615859After a push from TWRA, the Tennessee Fishing and Wildlife Commission approved a wider hunting season of black bears. They hope to lower the population of bears in parts of East Tennessee.

The season will only allow bow and arrow hunting all aimed at thinning the population.

Some were happy to see this in their area, saying it could help stop the nuisance these bears are causing on the home front, and for some, even at work.

Keith Marcum cherishes hunting. It's his time to spend with nature. Now, he is looking to add a new head to his mantle-- the black bear.

"I have wanted to hunt bears for probably 10 years. I have looked at the possibility of going to other states to hunt and even looked into the possibility of going into Canada to do it there, but glad I can do it here from home," said Marcum.

He and his neighbors see black bears walking through each other's yards. Some getting really close to the home.

"Closest encounter has been about 20, 25 feet. My son had been out on the porch one night, heard a noise and assumed it was a deer," said Marcum.

Keith Williams also lives in Oneida, and has seen bears all over his property for the past several years.

"They have actually crawled into the back of my truck and brought a bag of trash down over into the woods down here and they have done that twice. It's kind of a scary thing to see around midnight. Turn the light on and they are climbing up in the back of my truck," said Williams.

Some are causing damage and costing thousands. He says one bear damaged his father in law's bee hives.

"It's actually costing him a lot of money. In the thousands of dollars," said Williams.

But the bears can also be found where he works, and he watched one walk right into the auto shop he works for.

"I was looking at my toolbox, and I heard something behind me, so it was about 30 feet away at the back door; it was a bear standing up on its back feet. I see him and he sees me. He just looked at me. It seemed like forever, but it was probably just 10, 15 seconds," said Williams.

A normal sight for Scott County residents. It's a sight they want to see less of after archery season. As for Marcum, he is hoping to nab the black bear, welcoming it to his trophy wall while easing the population.

TWRA says you are not allowed to have any hunting dogs with you, nor any bait.

Big South Fork Recreational Area is excluded from the areas you can hunt them.