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Bear hunting season prompts town hall meeting

By Tamas Mondovics

Representative Timothy Hill (R-Blountville) announced last week of partnering with officials from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) to host a town hall discussion on Saturday, September 29 with area hunters related to the upcoming hunting season in Northeast Tennessee.

According to event organizers everyone is invited to attend the free meeting at Highlander BBQ, located at 8315 US 19E in Roan Mountain, at 8:30 a.m., to provide area hunters an opportunity to discuss rules and regulations as well as ask questions related to an upcoming season authorized on private land near the Laurel Fork Bear Reserve in Johnson and Carter Counties.

The TWRA roughly estimates that 850-950 bears may now inhabit both Carter and Johnson Counties; a significant increase in recent years. Officials said that these large animals have been frequenting land outside of their federally designated plots.
The bear’s increased presence including a number of sightings within Mountain City limits, including the report of several black bears rummaging through the garbage bins just outside Johnson County High School is jeopardizing the safety of citizens, pets, and local farm animals, officials said.Hill and TWRA officials want all those interested in participating in the hunt to be well informed and well prepared for success.

“With the bear population growth in our communities, we must take appropriate steps to improve safety for our citizens and their animals,” Hill said. “At the same time, our local hunters must be aware of rules and regulations designed to protect certain numbers of the bear population in Northeast Tennessee because they will be hunting in close proximity to our federal bear reserves. This town hall will make certain they have the information they need to participate in a safe, successful hunt without violating federal or state laws.”

Timothy Hill serves as House Majority Whip represents House District 3, which includes Johnson and part of Carter and Sullivan Counties. He can be reached by email at: [email protected] or by calling (615) 741-2050.