The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking bear hunters to pass on black bears with radio collars when the season opens.
The DNR says that about 30 bears are wearing the radio collars, along with ear tags.
“We’re asking hunters not to shoot these valuable research bears. As researchers, we’ve already spent a great deal of time and expense monitoring these bears,” says Dave Garshelis, DNR bear research biologist. “We gain unique information from radio-collared bears over the long-term that aids in monitoring and managing the bear population.”
The radio collars have GPS units in them, and the identifying ear tags are colorful and measure two inches by two inches. However, the DNR says that it knows that it can be difficult to see the tags and collars in some situations, so it isn’t illegal to harvest a tagged bear.
The DNR says that hunters who do shoot a collared bear should call the DNR wildlife research office in Grand Rapids at (218) 328-8874 or (218) 328-8879. Hunters who shoot a bear with small ear tags and no collar should indicate the ear tag numbers and color on the envelope when they submit bear teeth for required registration.
DNR officials and researchers are monitoring the bears mostly in the Chippewa National Forest. The remaining locations include Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area and the Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge, in and around Camp Ripley and near the Cloquet Forestry Station.
Minnesota’s bear hunting season begins Sept. 1.