This page is dedicated to bear hunting but you may download the
Entire 2013-14 Hunting and Trapping Guide here
Black Bear Season Open Only to Kentucky Residents
Attention: The 2013 bear quota hunt with dogs opens Monday December 23 and last for 5 days, with a quota of 5 bears (either sex). The season will close after legal shooting hours on Friday December 27, unless the quota is met earlier. Legal weapons for this season include modern firearms, muzzleloaders, archery equipment, and crossbows.
This 5-day period is open as a chase-only season for any person with a valid bear chase permit, but only hunt parties that have been drawn for this hunt may harvest a bear. All bears must be telechecked upon leaving the field AND successful hunters must call KDFWR within 24 hours to arrange for a physical check of the bear and receive a kill tag. Call the numbers below to arrange for a check of bears:
Regular business hours (Mon - Fri 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM): 1-800-858-1549
After regular business hours and holidays: 1-800-252-5378
Bear hunters must call 1-800-858-1549 after 9:00 PM each day of the hunt to learn if the quota was met.
Please Note: Bears may be field-dressed, but the head and proof of sex must remain intact for KDFWR inspection.
2014 Chase-Only Season for Bears
2013 Archery-Crossbow Season for Bears
November 23 - December 1, 2013Location:
only in Bear Zone (see detailed info and map of 16-county Bear Zone)Legal weapons:
Archery equipment and crossbowsQuota:
season shall close the day after the quota of 10 bears or 5 females is reached, or after legal shooting hours on December 1Bear Reserves:
Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, and Hensley-Pine Mountain WMA and are closed to ALL bear hunting activitiesDetailed Information about the 2013 Archery-Crossbow Season for Bears
2013 Firearm Season for Bears
Dates: December 14-16, 2013
Location: only in Bear Zone (see detailed info and map of 16-county Bear Zone)
Legal weapons: modern guns, muzzleloaders, archery equipment, and crossbows
Quota: season shall close the day after the quota of 10 bears or 5 females is reached, or after legal shooting hours on December 16
Bear Reserves: Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, and Hensley-Pine Mountain WMA and are closed to ALL bear hunting activities
Detailed Information about the 2013 Firearm Season for Bears
2013 Bear Quota Hunt with Dogs
Dates: December 23-27, 2013
Quota Hunt Application Period: September 1-30, 2013
Location: only on Bear Chase Areas within Bell, Harlan, Letcher and Pike counties (see maps below)
Legal weapons: modern guns, muzzleloaders, archery equipment, and crossbows
Note: A person must possess a legal Bear Chase Permit to apply for this quota hunt
Bear Seasons and Licensing
Unless license exempt, hunters must purchase a Bear Permit ($30), in addition to an Annual Hunting License. Bear Permits are available for purchase over-the-counter, by phone, and online.
The season bag limit is one bear per hunter.
Orange is the Law!
Kentucky’s Hunter Orange Clothing Law requires ALL HUNTERS and persons accompanying them, hunting for any species during the modern gun, muzzleloading, and youth fire - arm deer seasons, or a firearm elk or bear season to wear solid, unbroken hunter orange color visible from all sides on the head, back and chest.
The total season harvest quota is 10 bears or 5 female bears, whichever limit hunters reach first. If either limit is reached, the season will close a half-hour after sunset that day.
Hunters must call 1-800-858-1549 after 9 p.m. every day of bear season to check if the bear quota has been reached. If the quota has not been reached, the season will continue.
Unless license exempt, a person must purchase a Bear Chase Permit ($30) or Junior Bear Chase Permit ($10) to pursue bears with hounds. Bears may only be chased on Bear Chase Areas. View and download bear chase maps. Bear Chase Permits may only be purchased online from July 1-Aug. 31.
Bears taken during the archery/crossbow season or bear quota hunt with dogs must be telechecked
before 8:00 pm on the day of harvest. In addition, hunters must call the department within 24 hours of harvest to arrange for a physical check of the bear and receive a kill tag. During regular business hours, hunters should call the Info Center at 1 (800) 858-1549; after regular business hours, including weekends and holidays, hunters should call Dispatch at 1 (800) 252-5378.
Bears taken during the firearms season must be checked at a department operated check station, where successful hunters will be issued a permanent tag. Hunters must telecheck
their bear before leaving the station.
Hunter Orange Requirement
During any season when bears may be taken, all hunters and those who accompany them, hunting on public or private lands in the bear hunting zone, must comply with the hunter orange clothing law.
- Bear hunting is open to Kentucky residents only.
Q: Is it legal to shoot a bear that is feeding at a trash can or dumpster?
A: No. Garbage is considered bait.
- Hunters may not disturb or take bears from dens.
- Bear hunting is prohibited on Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and the Hensley-Pine Mountain WMA. Additionally, bear hunting within the 13,572 acres surrounding this WMA is limited to landowners, their spouses and dependent children hunting on their own property.
- See map for detailed bear sanctuary boundaries.
- Hunters may not take female bears with cubs, or any bear weighing less than 75 pounds.
- Hunters may not use bait during any bear season. Dogs may not be used to hunt bears during the firearm, archery and crossbow season, but leashed tracking dogs may be used to recover wounded bears.
- Firearm bear hunters 15 years old and younger must be accompanied by an adult, who shall remain in a position to take immediate control of the youth’s firearm.
Legal Bear Equipment
- A modern rifle of .270 caliber or larger, with a magazine capable of holding no more than 10 rounds.
Closed to Hunting!
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Hensley-Pine Mountain WMA and Kingdom Come State Park are closed to bear hunting.
- A muzzleloading rifle of .50 caliber or larger.
- A muzzle-loading or breechloading shotgun no larger than 10-gauge, and no smaller than 20-gauge, firing a single projectile (slug, round ball, conical bullet or saboted bullet) only.
- A handgun with a barrel length of six (6) inches, or longer, with a bore diameter of .270 inches or larger, when firing a bullet, producing at least 550 ft/lbs of energy at 100 yards.
- Firearms may not be fully-automatic (capable of firing more than one round with one trigger pull).
- Full metal jacketed or tracer bullet ammunition is prohibited
- Archery and crossbow equipment that is legal for deer hunting.
Where to Hunt Bear
The detailed 2013 Bear Hunting Zone Map is a printable map that shows the WMA hunting areas, other public hunting areas, and the bear check stations. Please be advised that this is a large map and spans 2 pages so is best viewed when printed. There is also an interactive Google map that shows detailed information.
Bear hunting is allowed in the following 16 counties for firearms, archery and crossbow seasons:
The following are public hunting areas for firearms, archery and crossbow seasons:
- Asher Hunting Access Area
- Beaver Creek WMA
- Boone Forestlands WMA
- Buck Creek WMA
- Buckhorn Lake WMA
- Burchell-Beech Creek WMA
- Cane Creek WMA
- Carr Creek Lake WMA
- CONSOL of Kentucky WMA
- Corrigan WMA
- Cranks Creek WMA
- Daniel Boone National Forest
- Dewey Lake WMA
- Elk Forest WMA
- Fishtrap Lake WMA
- Fortner-Davis WMA
- ICG Hunting Access Area
- Jefferson National Forest
- Jenny Wiley State Resort Park
- Kentenia State Forest
- Kentucky Ridge Forest WMA
- Kentucky Ridge State Forest
- Lake Cumberland WMA
- Martins Fork Lake WMA
- Martins Fork WMA & SNA
- Paul Van Booven WMA
- Redbird WMA
- Robinson Forest WMA
- Shillalah Creek WMA
- Stone Mountain WMA & SNA
- Wells Hunting Access Area
Bear Check Stations:
KDFWR Prestonsburg Office
2744 Lake Road
Prestonsburg, KY 41653
16 Chappell Drive
Baxter, KY 40806
KDFWR London Office
85 State Police Road
London, KY 40741
KDFWR Beaver Creek Office
11990 N Hwy 27
Parkers Lake, KY 42634
Vicco-Sassafrass Volunteer Fire Dept.
357 Main Street
Vicco, KY 41773
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
2204 Fishtrap Road
Shelbania, KY 41562