Bear Season is Sept. 1 - Nov. 17

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Vermonts bear hunting season is September 1- November 17 this year.

Vermonts bear population is estimated at 3,800 to 4,200 black bears, according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. Regulated hunting is used to control the populations growth.

With over 25 laws governing the Vermont bear season, the regulated hunt allows for the sustainable utilization of black bear for food and other purposes, said wildlife biologist Thomas Decker, who chairs Vermonts bear management team. In addition, bears have ecological and aesthetic values for Vermont.

This year Vermonts black bears seem to be in healthy condition with abundant berry crops from this summer and a spotty crop of apples, he added.

The long-term threat to Vermonts bears continues to be habitat loss, according to Decker.

Each year Vermont loses between 130-230 acres of critical bear habitat to development, said Decker. The ability to keep bears in Vermont over the next 50 years will depend on how much habitat we keep to support bears.

Last year hunters took 720 bears in Vermont, the highest number on record. A shortage of bear foods last fall influenced where bears traveled and was one reason hunters took more bears during the 2003 season.

A report on the results of the 2003 bear hunting season, including the number of bears taken in each town, is available on Vermont Fish & Wildlifes website at (vtfishandwildlife.com). Click on Hunting and Trapping and then Big Game.