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Bear Hunting in Vermont

Abundant Bear Population

Vermont boasts an abundant bear population, providing exciting hunting opportunities for enthusiasts. Bears can be found throughout the state, except for the Champlain Islands.

Late Season Bear Tag

When you purchase a hunting license in Vermont, it includes a "late season bear tag" valid from the first day of the regular November deer season through the second Sunday of the regular November deer season. Additionally, an "early season tag" for hunting from September 1 through the day before the first day of the regular November deer season can be purchased separately (hunting license required).

Hunting Methods and Restrictions

  • Baiting Prohibited: Hunting bears over bait is prohibited in Vermont.
  • Use of Bear Dogs: Bear dogs may be used with a permit, but no commercial guiding is allowed with bear dogs.

Best Hunting Seasons

Some of the best bear hunting occurs in September and October when hunters can stalk bears near concentrated food sources in prime bear habitat. Early in the season, bears prefer berries, cherries, and standing corn, while wild apples, beechnuts, and acorns become more important as the season progresses. Stalking bears in nut-rich beech tree stands on a crisp October morning is an exhilarating challenge for hunters.

General Bear Hunting Seasons

  • Early Season: Sept. 1 – Nov. 15, 2024
  • Late Season: Nov. 16 – 24, 2024
  • A hunter may take one black bear in a calendar year.
  • Bears may not be taken alive.
  • Bears may not be trapped.

Baiting and Feeding Restrictions

  • It is illegal to use bait or create a baited area to take a bear.
  • Shooting a bear visiting a bird feeder is illegal.
  • Feeding bears, even when not hunting them, is prohibited.

Ethical Consideration

  • It is recommended not to shoot a bear with cubs to ensure the protection of young bears.

Hunting Hours

Hunting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

Archery Hunting

Bear hunters using a bow or crossbow must have a previous or current bow license or a certificate proving completion of a bow hunter education course, in addition to a hunting license.

Tagging and Reporting

  • Bears must be tagged immediately when taken, and the tag must remain on the carcass open to view until it's prepared for consumption.
  • Hunters must report the taking of a bear within 48 hours and exhibit the carcass to the appropriate authorities.
  • A premolar tooth must be collected from the bear and submitted within 30 days of taking the bear.
  • Hunters using dogs for bear hunting must be accompanied by the bear dog permit holder at the time of reporting.
  • No bear carcass may be transported out of the state without prior reporting.

Transporting

A tagged bear may be transported only during the open season and for 20 days thereafter.

Use of Dogs in Bear Hunting

  • A permit is required for any person hunting, pursuing, or harvesting a black bear with the use of dogs.
  • The permit holder must use department-registered dogs and have purchased a valid bear tag.
  • Training dogs to pursue bears also requires a license and permit.
  • Nonresident bear hound hunters may not hunt in Vermont until September 15.

Vermont Bear Hunting Season Laws & Regulations

Black Bear Tooth Collection for Age Determination

Vermont Bear Hunting Season Laws & Regulations

Contribute to Vermont's Scientific Bear Management Program

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department relies on your assistance in determining the age of harvested bears, which is crucial for scientific bear management in the state. Hunters are legally required to submit a premolar tooth from every bear harvested in Vermont.

Easy Tooth Removal

Removing a bear's premolar tooth is a straightforward process that does not impact the quality of the bear's mount. You can watch a video on how to remove the premolar tooth at Bear Tooth Removal Video.

Submission Process

When you visit a check station, please ask the operator for a tooth envelope. Follow these steps:

  1. Remove the tooth and seal it in the provided envelope.
  2. Deposit the sealed envelope in the green tooth bucket at any check station.
  3. Ensure your name and Conservation ID Number are clearly printed on the envelope.

If you do not place it in the check station bucket, you must give the tooth to a game warden within 30 days of the bear's harvest. Every tooth received from hunters greatly contributes to the bear management project.

Age Availability

The age of your harvested bear will be accessible on the department's website in the spring after it is returned from the lab.

Your cooperation in submitting bear premolar teeth is highly appreciated and plays a vital role in Vermont's scientific bear management program. Thank you for your contribution to the conservation of our bear population.

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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.