Wildlife officials asking for bear teeth

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is reminding successful bear hunters to make every effort to submit a bear tooth so wildlife managers can collect critical information on Vermont’s bear population.
Teeth submitted by hunters are used to determine the ages of bears. Department staff use age and sex data to estimate the number of bears in Vermont and to determine the status and health of the bear population. Envelopes for submitting teeth are available at all big game check stations.
“Successful bear hunters have a real opportunity to give back to our management of this magnificent big game animal,” said Forest Hammond, bear project leader for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. “The premolar tooth we’re asking hunters to extract is actually small and easy to loosen with a knife. Directions for removing the tooth are on the back of the envelope provided by the check station, and a short video showing tooth removal is linked on our website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com).
Vermont has two bear hunting seasons. The early bear hunting season, which requires a special bear tag, started Sept. 1 and continues through Nov. 13. The late bear season begins Nov. 14 and continues through Nov. 22. The limit for bears remains one per calendar year.
“Carefully regulated hunting plays a very important role in wildlife management by helping to control the growth of Vermont’s bear population now estimated at about 6,000 bears,” said Hammond. “Minor fluctuations in the bear population will always occur due to changes in food availability, winter severity and hunter success. Despite these fluctuations, we look at the long-term trends to manage for a healthy, robust population.”

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