The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department reports that bear hunters in Vermont had a safe and successful hunting season in 2013. Hunters took 557 black bears during the 85 days of the two-part “early season” and “late season,” and there were no shooting-related incidents for hunters while pursuing bear.
For the first time, the State implemented an early bear hunting season (September 1-November 15) and a late season (November 16-24) in order to improve the bear management program.
Hunters needed to purchase a special license for the early bear season. Their regular hunting license bear tag was valid for the late season. 2013 also marked a new four-day extension in November designed to stabilize the growth in the population
“The four-day extension was very helpful in achieving our goal of harvesting more bears,” said bear biologist Forrest Hammond. “The 2013 harvest is close to our average annual total of 547 bears over the past ten years. Participation in the early bear season was higher than anticipated, an indication that Vermonters are becoming increasingly interested in hunting this big game animal.”
Hammond said 306 bears were taken during the early season and 251 in the late season that overlapped with the November deer season. Ten percent of the harvest was taken by hunters during the four-day extension of the late season. Two towns had the highest number of bears taken, Montgomery and Sutton, with 11 bears reported in each town. Four bears weighing more than 400 pounds were taken in the state.
“The annual bear harvest typically fluctuates due to food availability and weather that influences how much the bears roam and how soon they den up for the winter,” said Hammond. “The 2013 harvest was less than the previous year when 620 bears were taken.”
Hammond attributes the higher total in 2012 to a large bear population and a shortage of fall foods in the woods that made bears more available to hunters.
Media Contact: Forrest Hammond, 802-885-8832