For the first time in state history, Missouri will be holding its first official hunt for black bears. The Missouri Conservation Commission approved the new hunt on March 26th after decades of research.
Missouri residents will have the opportunity to apply for this in May with the hunt taking place October 18th-27th. Likewise, hunting will be broken down into three separate units, or as the MDC is calling them, “bear management zones.”
In accordance with the management plan, a total of 400 bear permits will be issued and only 40 bears will be allowed to be harvested. Hunters should also be aware that the use of bait or dogs is not legal for the hunt.
A common theme in the United States, hunting remains a useful and frequent tool for managing wildlife. According to MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley,
“Being able to add this iconic species to the long list of hunting opportunities for Missourians is a testament to the decades of bear research and management by (Missouri Department of Conservation) staff. A limited annual hunting season will help manage the growing number of black bears in the state.”
However, this new opportunity for Missourian hunters comes with its own opposition as well. Those against the new hunt feel it is unjust, unethical, and unnecessary. In an article written by Michelle L. Lute to the Kansas City Star, she argues,
“Bear populations grow very slowly. They self-regulate and do not need humans’ hapless attempts at regulation.”
The black bear is a species that many hunters and wildlife enthusiasts alike enjoy. It is important to find that common ground in order to ensure bear sustainability for future generations.