Black Bear Hunters Must Keep Meat

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The black bear hunting season reopens for the fall on Sept. 15 in most areas of Montana. Hunters should check the regulations for exceptions.

Montana regulations prohibit hunters from allowing the meat from bears they harvest to become unfit for human consumption. Like the meat from elk, deer and most other big game animals, bear meat cannot be wasted, thrown away or left in the field. A hunter is also prohibited from abandoning in the field the head or hide of a harvested black bear.

The regulation applies unless the meat is determined to contain trichinella. Trichinella is a parasitic disease found in 15 percent of Montana's black bears. An optional free-of-charge testing service for trichinella is offered through Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

Information on trichinella and instructions on how to submit samples for testing are available at all FWP offices. Bear meat must be kept in an edible condition until test results are obtained. Hunters will be notified of the results by mail.


hunter25's picture

I thought it was just common

I thought it was just common sense that you had to keep the meat from an animal harvested including bear meat butonce again a law had to be passed to keep people from being stupid. I have not yet tried it but I know some avid bear hunters who swear  that if proprly prepared that bear meat is just as good as some of the other game animals we hunt.

On top of that I can't imagine anyone that would leave the head and hide behind as that is the trophy part of the animal. I suppose this is to try and prevent the killing of the bear for the sale of the gall bladder but that was illegal already as far as I know.