MONTPELIER, Vt. — The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department says bear hunting season starts in September and there are new bear hunting regulations in effect this year.

Vermont has two bear hunting seasons.  The early season, which requires a special bear tag, starts September 1 and continues through November 9 with one exception.  Nonresident hunters using dogs cannot start bear hunting until September 15.  The late bear season begins November 10 and continues through November 18.  A hunter may only take one bear during the year.

In addition to a hunting license, a bear hunter using a bow or crossbow must have either a bow license or a certificate proving completion of a bow hunter education course.

The hunter must field dress the bear before taking it to a reporting station.  It is also legal to skin the bear and cut it up in order to carry it out of the woods.  Although the bear must be reported within 48 hours, Fish & Wildlife urges doing so quickly to cool the meat.  The hunter must also collect and submit a pre-molar tooth from the bear within 48 hours which provides important data on the age structure and size of the bear population.    

Upon the request of a game warden, a person harvesting a bear is required to return to the kill site with a game warden.

Vermont’s bear biologist Forrest Hammond says Vermont’s regulated bear hunting seasons help in managing the state’s population which has grown in recent years.

“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 in a news release.

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.