Black Bear Hunters Must Keep Meat
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.