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Bear Hunting

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Vermont has an excellent bear population with bears found in all of the state except the Champlain Islands. Your hunting license comes with a “late season tag” good from the first day of November rifle deer season through the second Sunday of the November rifle deer season. An “early season tag” for September 1 through the day before the first day of the November rifle deer season may be purchased separately (hunting license required).

Hunting bears over bait is prohibited. Bear dogs may be used with a permit, but no commercial guiding is allowed with bear dogs.

Some of the best bear hunting occurs in September and October when you can stalk by finding concentrated food sources in or near prime bear habitat. Early in the season, preferred foods include berries, cherries, and standing corn. As the season progresses, wild apples, beechnuts and acorns become more important. Stalking bears in a stand of nut-rich beech trees half way up a mountain on a crisp October morning is one of hunting’s most exciting challenges. The reward in meat produced is also great. When properly prepared, bear meat compares favorably to pork.

General Bear Hunting —
Early Season — Sept. 1–Nov. 15, 2013
Late Season — Nov. 16–24, 2013

  • A hunter may take one black bear in a calendar year.
  • Bears may not be taken alive.
  • Bears may not be trapped.
  • Hunters may not use bait or a baited area to take a bear. A “baited area” is defined as an area where meat, carrion, honey, or any other substance capable of luring or attracting bear has been placed or deposited.
  • It is illegal to shoot a bear that is visiting a bird feeder.

Hunting Hours

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

Tagging Bear

Bear must be tagged immediately when taken. The tag must be placed on the carcass open to view and remain there until the carcass is cut up for consumption.

Reporting Bear

A person taking bear shall within 48 hours report the taking and exhibit the carcass to the nearest game warden, official Fish & Wildlife Department Reporting Station, or to a person designated by the commissioner to receive the reports. No bear carcass shall be transported out of state without first being reported.


A tagged bear may be transported only during the open season and for 20 days thereafter. See also Transporting under Big Game.

Use of Dogs to Hunt Bear

Permit Required: Hunters may use dogs to take bear only when the person in control of the dogs has a bear-dog permit available from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. The permit is required to pursue black bear with the aid of dogs for training purposes or for hunting and taking a bear.

A copy of the regulation on use of dogs in bear hunting is available from Vermont Fish & Wildlife or at Resident and nonresident permit applications also are available with the regulation.

A person shall not advertise, barter, exchange goods or services, expose or otherwise sell the use of a dog or dogs for the purpose of taking black bear.


Black Bear Tooth Collection is Important

The Fish & Wildlife Department needs your help. Knowing the age of the bears that are harvested by hunters is a very important part of Vermont’s scientific bear management program.

Removing the bear’s pre-molar tooth is easy and does not affect the mounting quality of the bear. Please ask the check station operator for a tooth envelope for you to send your bear’s tooth sample to the department.

Every tooth we receive from hunters helps the bear project.

You will receive the age information in the spring when the age information is returned from the lab. Thank you.


Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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