Black bear hunting season to start early

MONTPELIER — With the intent to slow the growth in Vermont’s bear population and to provide Fish & Wildlife Department biologists with data to better manage black bears in Vermont, Vermont Fish and Wildlife has announced that Vermont’s bear hunting season will begin with an early season, Sept. 1 through Nov. 18. and a late season from Nov. 10-18. Hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. A hunter may harvest only one bear per calendar year.
There is a separate “early season bear tag” required for those hunters who want to hunt bear prior to the beginning of the November deer rifle season. It costs $5 for residents and $15 for nonresidents. Hunters will continue to get a “late season” bear tag along with their deer tag on their general hunting license at no additional cost, valid during the first nine days of the November deer rifle season.
The additional tag will enable the department to gather essential information about hunter effort and success, as well as an idea of overall bear hunter numbers. The early season tag gives department biologists a better understanding of how many hunters are actively pursuing bears before the November rifle season.
Hunters who hunt with a permanent license (licenses for hunters 66 and older) do not need to buy an early season bear tag no matter when their license was bought, and they will not be charged for an early season bear tag. Their tag is valid for both early and late bear seasons every year in perpetuity.
Knowing the age of the bears that are harvested by hunters is a very important part of Vermont’s scientific bear management program. A pre-molar tooth is now required by regulation to be submitted by the hunter from every bear harvested in Vermont. Removing the bear’s pre-molar tooth is easy and does not affect the mounting quality of the bear. Ask the reporting station operator for a tooth envelope for you to insert the tooth in before placing in the tooth bucket found at the reporting station. Every tooth we receive from hunters helps the bear project. We will publish the age information on our website in the spring.

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