BRATTLEBORO -- Vermont now has two bear hunting seasons. The early bear hunting season, which requires a special bear tag, starts Sept. 1 and continues through Nov. 15.
The late bear season begins Nov. 16 and continues through Nov. 24. The bear tag that comes with a hunting license is for use during this late season. This season has been extended four additional days during the November deer season.
The early season bear tag costs $5 for residents and $15 for nonresidents. A hunter may only take one bear during the year.
The new season was instated to help better manage Vermont's bear population, which 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 to 6,000 bears listed in Vermont's Big Game Management Plan for 2010-2020.
Hunters need to collect a small pre-molar tooth from each harvested bear. Directions for removing the tooth are on the back of the envelope provided at the check station. The tooth enables biologists to age the bear and gain essential knowledge about the status of Vermont's bear population.
Hunters took 618 bears last year in Vermont. A report listing the number of bears taken in each town during the 2012 bear season is available at vtfishandwildlife.com. Click on "Hunting and Trapping" and then "Big Game."