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Black Bear

Fall Black Bear General Season Dates:

August 1 - November 15

Area Restriction:

GMUs 157, 490, and 522 are closed to fall bear hunting.

A special deer/elk permit is required to hunt bear in GMU 485.

License Required:

A valid big game hunting license, which includes black bear as a species option.

Second Black Bear License/Tag:

A second black bear transport tag/license must be purchased to take a second bear. Hunters may purchase a maximum of two black bear transport tag/licenses.

Bag Limit:

Two (2) black bear during the license year.

Hunting Method:

Hunters may use any legal weapon for hunting black bear. Bait or hounds are not allowed for bear hunting (RCW 77.15.245).

Mandatory Submission of Bear Teeth Statewide

All successful black bear hunters statewide MUST submit a black bear premolar tooth per WAC 220-415-090. Pre-paid and self-addressed tooth envelopes can be obtained at all WDFW offices (see page 6). The premolar tooth is located behind the canine tooth of the upper jaw.

Successful hunters are required to submit a tooth from their bear to the Department. Please submit within 5 days of harvest or by December 1, 2022.

WDFW uses teeth to get an accurate age of kills, hunters wanting to check the age of their harvested bear can visit the following website:

Teeth are aged by an external laboratory and turnaround time for age results can be up to 6 months after the close of the fall big game hunting season.

Identification of Grizzly and Black Bear

Grizzlies are protected under both federal and state law and may not be shot or killed. Be sure of identification if you are hunting black bear.

A mandatory bear identification test is required in some GMUs. See above for a list of GMUs. Bear Identification Program:

Hunters are urged to not shoot a female with cubs.

During the fall females may be accompanied by cubs (weighing 30-50 lbs) which tend to lag behind when traveling, so please observe and be patient before shooting.

Bear Identification test:

Hunters that choose to hunt in GMUs located in grizzly bear recovery areas identified by the Department must successfully complete the annual WDFW online bear identification test. Must score 80% or higher and carry proof that they have passed the WDFW test or an equivalent test from another state. The GMUs that require a bear identification test are: 101, 105, 108, 111, 113, 117, 203, 204, 209, 215, 418, 426.