Vermont has an excellent bear population with bears found in all of the state except the Champlain Islands. Bears may be hunted during a 2½ month season that opens September 1 and closes the first Wednesday of the rifle deer season in November.
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—Sept. 1–Nov. 14, 2012
- 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 are one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset.
(See Sunrise/Sunset Tables.)
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.
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 in Rutland at 802-786-0040, or at www.vtfishandwildlife.com. 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.