Eight Black Bears Harvested in Missouri Bear Hunting Season

by Emily Morgan
Photo by: Savageslc

On Thursday, the Missouri Department of Conservation announced that state hunters harvested eight black bears during the 2022 bear-hunting season. The season ran from Oct. 17 to 26.

According to a release from the department, 5,880 hunters applied months back in May for 400 permits for the official season. Of the 400 hunters selected through a random drawing, 350 hunters could purchase permits.

In Missouri, bear hunting is limited to 40 animals per season. Hunting is also limited to Missouri residents only. There are also only three designated areas in southern Missouri where you can hunt.

“We anticipated a lower harvest this season over last,” MDC bear biologist Nate Bowersock said. “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.”

According to the MDC, three bears harvested were taken with bows. However, hunters took all 12 black bears with firearms during last year’s season.

Hunter takes down bear on second day of season, sets new record

Earlier this month, Caleb Henry broke the record for the largest black bear hunted in Western North Carolina. The 21-year-old now holds the new record, with the bear weighing an incredible 695 pounds. The previous record in North Carolina was 688 pounds.

Caleb Henry and his best friend, Lucas Teague, began their hunt on opening day on Oct. 17. That same day, Teague harvested his first bear, which came in at 475 pounds.

On their second day, Henry said it didn’t take long for them to begin their hunt for another bear. “Within five minutes of turning them loose, the dogs jumped the bear and started walking it through the woods,” Henry said.

However, the bear crossed a road and went down into a holler, so they got in his truck to try and get in front of the bear.

After successfully maneuvering the truck, Henry could get in front of the bear. Once there, he waited for it to come into range. At around 8 a.m., Henry took the shot with a .35 caliber rifle and landed his record-breaking bear. Luckily, it dropped only about 100 yards from the road.

Henry later said that the hunting season was going “pretty great so far” after harvesting his bear on the second day of the season.

After bringing the bear in, a local biologist came to weigh the bear officially. Upon learning the bear’s weight of 695 pounds compared to the previous record of 688, Henry said his “mind was blown” and that he “never would have thought the bear would have been that big.”