Minnesota bear hunters are asked to avoid all tagged or collared bears while in the field.
With Minnesota's September 1 bear opening season quickly approaching, the Department of Natural Resources is asking hunters heading out to bag a bear to be very watchful of any that might be collared for studies.
"We're asking that if hunters see ear tags or a collar on a bear, they refrain from shooting it," said Dave Gershelis a DNR bear researcher in a press release. "Long-term records of individual bears have been the cornerstone of information that helps the DNR monitor and manage the bear population."
As of now, the DNR has about 20 black bears radio-collared that they are monitoring. Most of them are in northwestern Minnesota at the Thief Lake Management Area and the Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge.
"Hunters near these areas should be especially watchful for these valuable research bears," explained Gershelis. "Researchers have invested an enormous amount of time and expense in these individuals."
Hunters should pay close attention to the bear's ears which will have brightly colored tags in them, and for the reflective tape of their collars before taking a shot.
The DNR does recognize that in some instances the collars or tags may not be visible and if shot, the kill is still legal. If this happens, it needs to reported to a wildlife official as soon as possible.