Bear Hunting Regulations

Legal Hunting Equipment and Methods

Manner & Means of Bear Hunting: Refer to the specific guidelines under the "Manner & Means" section for detailed information on legally approved hunting equipment and methods for bear hunting.

Wild Hogs During Bear Dog Hunts

Hunting Wild Hogs in Bear Seasons: During bear dog hunts, hunters holding a valid bear hunting license are permitted to harvest wild hogs. This regulation applies across all proclaimed bear dog hunting periods.

Bear Dog Training Season

Designated Training Periods and Areas: Training of bear dogs is allowed only during certain times and in specific areas, under strict regulations to ensure no bears are harmed:

  • BHZ1 and BHZ2: Open for training from August 19 to September 24.
  • BHZ3: Training is allowed from September 6 to September 15.
  • BHZ4 and Transitional Areas: Training is strictly prohibited.
  • North Cherokee: September 5 to September 30 marks the training period.
  • South Cherokee: Similar to BHZ3, open from September 6 to September 15.

Restricted Bear Reserve Hunt

Hunting in Kettlefoot and Laurel Fork Reserves: A special hunting opportunity is available in the Kettlefoot and Laurel Fork Bear Reserves:

  • Open Area: The hunt is restricted to private properties within these reserves.
  • Hunting Period: This special hunt occurs from September 16 to September 22.
  • Hunting Methods Allowed: Hunters may use archery, muzzleloaders, guns, and dogs.
  • Bag Limit and Sex: One bear of either sex is allowed, which does not contribute to the statewide bag limit.
  • Reporting: Harvests can be reported electronically.

Mandatory Submission of Bear Tooth Samples

Importance of Submitting Bear Teeth

Monitoring Bear Populations Through Dental Samples: The submission of a tooth sample from each harvested bear is now a mandatory practice. This requirement is essential due to the extensive bear hunting seasons across 37 counties and the varying duration of Bear Hunt Zone Seasons, which can last between 28 to 66 days. With the implementation of electronic check-ins, it's increasingly challenging for Agency personnel to physically collect sufficient teeth samples. These samples are critical for monitoring bear population health and trends, aiding in the sustainable management of bear populations.

Procedure for Tooth Collection

Step-by-Step Guide to Extracting a Bear's Tooth: Collecting a tooth sample involves a specific procedure to ensure the integrity of the sample:

  1. Identify the Correct Tooth: Locate the upper premolar, which is situated just behind the canine tooth.
  2. Expose the Tooth: Use a knife or screwdriver to gently push back the gum line towards the top of the bear’s head, revealing more of the tooth.
  3. Loosen the Tooth: Carefully use the knife or screwdriver, leveraging against the canine, to loosen the premolar. Avoid pulling the tooth out immediately with pliers, as this often leads to breakage.
  4. Extract the Tooth: Once the tooth is sufficiently loose, use pliers to remove it. Remember, the entire tooth, including the roots, is required.

Educational Resources

Learn How to Properly Remove and Submit a Tooth: For a detailed visual guide on the correct method of tooth removal and submission, hunters are encouraged to watch an instructional video. This video can be found at Bear Tooth Removal Tutorial.

Tennessee Bear Hunting Laws & Regulations

Bear Tooth Submission Process

Tennessee Bear Hunting Laws & Regulations

Steps for Submitting a Bear Tooth

Essential Procedure for Contributing to Bear Data Collection: After successfully harvesting a bear and extracting its tooth, the following steps are crucial for submitting the tooth to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA):

  1. Prepare the Submission Form: Complete the designated form provided by the TWRA, ensuring all details are accurately filled out.

  2. Attach Tooth to a Card: Secure the tooth to an index card or a similar sturdy paper using tape. This step is vital to prevent the tooth from getting lost during mailing.

  3. Mail the Sample: Place the index card with the attached tooth and the completed form in an envelope. Mail it to the following address:

    TWRA Bear Data Collection 3030 Wildlife Way Morristown, TN 37814

Example of a Proper Submission

Visual Guide for Effective Submission: An example of a correctly prepared bear tooth submission involves the tooth being taped securely to a notecard, accompanied by the completed form. This helps in ensuring the safe transit and processing of the sample.

Submission Deadline

Timely Submission is Key: All bear tooth samples must be submitted or postmarked by February 15th following the harvest year of the bear. This deadline is critical for the data to be relevant and useful in population monitoring.

Additional Resources

Stay Informed with TWRA Updates: For further details or alternative submission options, hunters are encouraged to regularly check the TWRA website. This resource provides up-to-date information and guidelines to assist in the submission process.

Wild Advisor Pro


The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.