Bear season starts Sept. 1
MONTPELIER — Vermont’s bear hunting season starts Sept. 1, and hunters can improve their chances if they scout ahead of time to find fall foods such as wild apples, beechnuts, acorns and berries — where bears will be feeding.
“Fall foods for bears are more scarce than they were last year,” said Vermont’s bear biologist Forrest Hammond. “Bears will be feeding along power lines and in forest openings and old fields where berries and apples can be found as well as in forested beech and oak stands. They also are likely to be feeding more on standing corn this year.”
Vermont has two bear hunting seasons. The early bear hunting season, which requires a special bear tag, starts Sept. 1 and continues through Nov. 11. The late bear season begins Nov. 12 and continues through Nov. 20. A hunter may only take one bear during the year.
Hammond says Vermont’s regulated bear hunting seasons help in managing the state’s population of about 5,500 bears.
“Twenty-five years ago Vermont had less than 3,000 bears, and they were found mostly in the mountains and northeastern quarter of the state,” he said. “Although we have successfully increased bear numbers, the human population has also risen, resulting in more encounters between humans and bears. Carefully regulated hunting helps control the growth of the black bear population and allows for their sustainable use, while decreasing interactions with humans.”
“Hunters are reminded to collect a small premolar tooth from each harvested bear,” Hammond added. “The collection of a premolar tooth is critical to the bear project as it provides important data on the age structure of the bear population and for making population estimates.”
A video showing how to remove the tooth is on the Fish and Wildlife website and YouTube channel.
Hunters took 665 bears last year in 189 Vermont towns.
Hammond asks hunters in southern Vermont to avoid shooting bears with yellow ear tags and GPS collars because they are valuable animals in the Deerfield Wind bear study.
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