Vermont Bear Season Set to Begin - Sept. 1st
Vermont's bear hunting season is September 1- November 16 this year.
Vermont's bear population is now estimated at slightly more than 6,000 black bears, according to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. The number of bears has increased during the last two decades and is now higher than the objective of 4,500-6,000 bears listed in Vermont's Big Game Management Plan for 2010-2020.
"Twenty-five years ago Vermont's bear population was less than 3,000, and bears existed primarily in the mountains and in the Northeastern quarter of the state," said wildlife biologist Forrest Hammond. "Through changes in hunting regulations identified in the previous Big Game Management Plan, we successfully encouraged bears to increase in number and expand into towns where their numbers were low."
"But," added Hammond, "now we are seeing more incidents of bears doing damage, primarily where they are attracted to foods such as bird seed, pet food left outside, garbage containers, bee hives, barbecues, livestock, and field corn.
"Carefully regulated hunting plays a very important role in wildlife management by helping to control the growth of the black bear population and allow for the sustainable utilization of black bears for food and other purposes," said Hammond. "We will continue to closely monitor the success of bear hunters this fall and plan to recommend regulation changes that will result in slightly more bears being taken in future years."
Although wearing fluorescent orange clothing is not mandatory for hunting in Vermont, hunters and others are urged to wear a fluorescent orange vest and hat while in the woods. Anyone hunting deer during archery season, waterfowl or turkeys will normally wear camouflage clothing.
Hunters in the towns of Readsboro, Searsburg, and Whitingham are urged to use special caution to avoid shooting bears wearing radio collars. These marked bears are an important part of a study being started this fall in conjunction with the Deerfield Wind Project. If a bear wearing a collar is mistakenly harvested it is crucial that the collar and bear be turned in to the Fish and Wildlife Department.
Hunters took 537 bears last year in Vermont. A report listing the number of bears taken in each town during the 2010 bear season is available on Vermont Fish and Wildlife's website at vtfishandwildlife.com. Click on "Hunting and Trapping" and then "Big Game."