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Black Bear

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Vermont's most reclusive big-game animal is remarkably abundant. Black bears inhabit most of the state, other than the Champlain Islands. Vermont has one of the densest black bear populations in the country, approximately one bear for every three square miles, most commonly found in the Green Mountains and Northeast Kingdom.

Bear Seasons Dates Notes
Early September 1 through the day before the 16-day November Regular Deer Season A separate Early Bear Season tag is required to hunt the Early Bear Season.
The limit is one bear per calendar year.
Baiting is prohibited. Hounds are allowed, provided the person in charge of the dogs has a bear-dog permit, no more than six dogs are used, and no commercial guiding occurs. Nonresident hunters, when using hounds, may begin hunting September 15.
Late The first nine days of the 16-day November Regular Deer Season

Successful bear hunting usually means successfully finding concentrated natural food sources in or near prime bear habitat. Early in the season, preferred foods include late-ripening berries, black cherries, and standing corn. As the season progresses, wild apples, beechnuts, and acorns become more important.

Stalking bears in a stand of nut-rich beech trees half way up a mountain on a crisp October afternoon is one of hunting's most exciting challenges. The reward in terms of harvested meat is also great. When properly prepared, bear meat compares favorably to pork.

Help Collect Important Data

Hunters are required to collect a small pre-molar tooth from each harvested bear. Collecting a bear tooth is now mandated by law.  The collection of a premolar tooth is critical to the bear project as it provides important data for evaluating changes to the age structure of the bear population and for making population estimates.

See How to Collect the Tooth

Leashed Tracking Dog to Recover Bear

A hunter who believes they have legally killed or wounded a bear during hunting season may engage a person who has a “Leashed Tracking Dog Certificate” issued by the department to track and recover the animal during the season or within 24 hours after the season ends.

Get the List of Leashed Tracking Dog Handlers

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