Officials say the early season for bear hunting for Vermonters will begin Sept. 1 and run through Nov. 12, and officials say a hunter can take only one bear a year.
“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,” said Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife Director of Wildlife Mark Scott. “They also are likely to be feeding on standing corn.”
In a release from the department, Scott said bear hunting in Vermont helps preserve the bear population while keeping it under control.
“Fifty years ago Vermont had less than 1,500 bears, and they were found mostly in the mountains and northeastern quarter of the state,” Scott said in a release. “Bears are now found statewide except in Grand Isle County, and although we have successfully increased bear numbers to close to 5,000, the human population also has increased, resulting in more encounters between humans and bears. Carefully regulated legal hunting helps control the growth of the black bear population and allows for their sustainable use, while decreasing interactions with humans.”
The late bear season for Vermonters begins Nov. 13 and runs through Nov. 21. Non-resident hunters using dogs to hunt bear cannot begin their sport until Sept. 15, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
In order to use a bow or crossbow to hunt bear, officials said hunters must have a prior or current certification of a bowhunter education course in addition to a state hunting license, and any kills must be field-dressed before being taken to a reporting station.
Kills will also be accepted skinned and portioned in order for hunters to carry them out of the woods, and all kills must be reported to the Department of Fish and Wildlife within 48 hours, the release stated.
The department urged hunters to report any harvest of bear as soon as possible following the hunt in order to cool the bear meat to avoid spoiling, and a pre-molar tooth is required to be reported to a game station within 30 days of the kill, the release stated.
Hunters are also required to return to the kill site upon the request of the game warden, officials said.
Officials said bear meat is highly nutritious for humans, but advised that hunters should not hunt bears in groups or with cubs.
Information on obtaining bear licenses can be found online at https://anrweb.vt.gov/FWD/FW/LicenseInformation.aspx