Local resident Jerry Hicks killed this 375 lb. male black bear in Wayne County on November 24 during crossbow season.

    Jerry Hicks recalled his first look at the large black bear that 

passed near his tree stand on Sunday, November 24. The 375-pound male 

bear was huge, and he was trying to find out where the hunter was 


    Hicks was hunting bear as part of the new expanded bear zone in 

Wayne County during archery/crossbow season, which opened November 23 

and ended December 1.

    "What made it exciting was that he came in to where I had walked 

about an hour before that...and he spooked," said Hicks. The bear 

left the area, but returned about 45 minutes later, walking by that 

same spot again.

    "He circled around behind me, and he was such a beautiful animal," 

said Hicks. "He was really trying to figure out where I was at...He 

just knew something was there."

    Hicks used a crossbow to harvest the bear, the first taken in Wayne

County under the new expanded bear zone, according to Tim Catron, 

with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. Catron noted that 

a bear was legally harvested in Wayne County last year due to crop 


    A special set of guidelines were followed by the land owner in that

case, so that the bear could be legally harvested, explained Catron. 

The bear Hicks harvested in Wayne County was the fifth statewide of 

the archery/crossbow season in Kentucky.

    According to Catron, the 10 bear quota was met statewide on December

1, which was the last day for archery/crossbow season. Four bears 

were harvested in Letcher County; two in Perry County; and  one each 

in Harlan, Pike, Leslie and Wayne counties.

    Kentucky's bear zone was expanded from four counties to 16 counties

recently, and it was news that was of great interest to Hicks, who 

has hunted bear before. He killed a couple of bears in Michigan's 

Upper Peninsula, during two different hunting trips there several 

years ago during gun season.

    He said when he heard the news that Wayne County would be included n

the expanded zone he had an idea where he wanted to hunt.

    After harvesting the bear, Hicks had to get some friends help him 

move it out of the woods. He contacted the Department of Fish and 

Wildlife Resources and a biologist visited his home to check the 

bear. Hicks said the biologist took DNA samples which will determine 

where the bear came from. He also took a tooth to determine the age 

of the bear.

    Hicks said the bear meat has been processed and he has plans to make

a rug from the skin.

    "I like the meat better than I do venison...It depends on how you 

prepare it," said Hicks.

    The modern gun bear season will open December 14 and will continue 

through December 16. This season will have another 10 bear quota, 

with no more than five females taken statewide. The same guidelines 

will apply as with archery/crossbow season.

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