On August 30, 2023

Vermont bear hunting begins in September


Friday, Sept. 1 — STATEWIDE — Bear hunting season starts in September and the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Dept. (VTF&W) reminds hunters to review the bear hunting regulations.

Vermont has two bear hunting seasons. The early season, which requires a special bear tag, starts Sept. 1, and continues through Nov. 10 with one exception. Nonresident hunters using dogs cannot start bear hunting until Sept. 15. The late bear season is Nov. 11-19.  A hunter may only take one bear during the year.

In addition to a hunting license, a bear hunter using a bow or crossbow must have a prior or current bow license or a certificate proving completion of a bow hunter education course.

The hunter must field dress the bear before taking it to a reporting station. It is also legal to skin the bear and cut it up in order to carry it out of the woods. The bear must be reported within 48 hours, but Fish and Wildlife urges doing so ASAP to cool the meat. The hunter must also collect and submit a pre-molar tooth from the bear at the time the bear is reported or within 30 days.  The tooth provides important data on the age structure and size of the bear population.   

Upon the request of a game warden, a person harvesting a bear is required to return to the kill site with a game warden.

“Bears will be feeding along power lines and in forest openings and old fields where berries and apples can be found as well as in forested beech and oak stands,” said Vermont’s Director of Wildlife Mark Scott. “They also are likely to be feeding on standing corn.”

Scott said Vermont’s regulated legal bear hunting seasons help manage the state’s population and that bears are now abundant statewide except in Grand Isle County.

Scott said with bears being so abundant, this is a great opportunity for hunters who have never hunted bear to do so this year. Properly prepared bear meat is highly nutritious, Scott added.

The key to successfully securing good meat is to skin the bear as soon as possible and process it immediately if you do not have access to a large cooler.

Scott recommends that hunters refrain from shooting a bear with cubs as well as bears observed in groups as they are usually made up of sows with cubs. “Black bear cubs are dependent on their mother through the following spring. It is important to maintain these family groups,” he added.

Vermont Fish & Wildlife urges hunters to download and read the 2023 Black Bear Hunting Guide at: vtfishandwildlife.com.

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts