REGIONAL—The Minnesota bear hunting season opens Tuesday, Sept. 1, and the Department of Natural Resources is asking hunters to avoid shooting marked research bears. These bears are marked with …
REGIONAL—The Minnesota bear hunting season opens Tuesday, Sept. 1, and the Department of Natural Resources is asking hunters to avoid shooting marked research bears.
These bears are marked with distinctively large, colorful ear tags and have radio collars.
Researchers with the DNR are monitoring about 20 radio collared black bears across the state, especially in bear hunting zones 27, 25 and 45, and in parts of the no-quota zone. Most of them are in or near the Chippewa National Forest between Grand Rapids and Bigfork. Others are near Voyageurs National Park or around Camp Ripley.
“We’re asking hunters to avoid shooting these valuable research bears. These collared bears give us much of the data we use in bear management,” said Dave Garshelis, DNR bear research scientist.
Trapping new bears every year to replace the ones killed cannot substitute for long-term data on individuals.
The bear’s coat often hides the collar, especially in the fall, and most of the collars are black. But all collared bears have large (3 by 2 inch), colorful ear tags so hunters can simply identify a collared animal by these large tags, whether or not a collar is visible. The tags should be plainly visible when a bear is at a bait, or on trail cam photos.
DNR officials recognize that a hunter may not be able to see a radio collar or ear tags in some situations. For this reason, taking a bear with a radio collar is legal; however, waiting a few minutes to get a clear view of the bear’s head would reveal whether it has large ear tags, which indicates that it is collared.
Any hunters who do shoot a collared bear should bring the collar to a bear registration station and call the DNR Wildlife Research Office in Grand Rapids at 218-328-8879 or 218-328-8874 to report shooting a collared bear.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here