Bear Season Closes Early

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The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) announced today the closure of California's black bear hunting season. Under regulations adopted by the Fish and Game Commission, the black bear season is to be closed if and when the DFG verifies that 1,500 bears have been taken by hunters.

If the 1,500 bear tags had not been received, the season would have run through Sunday, Dec. 30, 2001. This marks the fifth consecutive year the reported kill shuts down the season before the calendar closure. Last year, the DFG announced the end of the season on Nov. 30, one day later than the previous year.

In addition to other information sources, the DFG will mail notices to all bear tag holders that the season is closed. DFG wardens and biologists will also inform hunters they encounter in the field.

All bear tags (including those unused or unfilled) must be returned to the Wildlife Programs Branch, DFG, 1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento, California, 95814 by Feb. 1, 2002.

Those who bag a bear also must submit the bear skull to the DFG for extraction of a tooth. The collected teeth are aged and the data are used to help Fish and Game determine the health of the state's bear population.

Tags that have yet to be received by the DFG will put the harvest total slightly above 1,500. This will not have a negative impact on the state's bear populations, which is estimated at 18,000 to 23,000 animals.