Time for black bear hunters to bear down on some of the rules

Monday, September 14th, 2009 at 6:38 am

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officers are asking hunters to review the rules as the black bear hunting season gets underway.“During my initial inspections, I found bear baiting stations that had not been registered with the DNR within 24 hours of being established, or lacking a bear bait sign within 20 feet of the bait,” said Conservation Officer Paul Parthun of Lake George.

Bear bait signs must contain the full name, Minnesota DNR number, and Minnesota driver’s license number ( or the full name, address, and telephone number) of the person placing the bait.

“Bait” is anything placed for the purpose of attracting or attempting to attract bears. A bear “bait station” is any location where bait is placed for the purpose of hunting.

Other conservation officers have noticed the following:

* CO Mike Lee of Isle found most bear baiting activity to be in compliance with the law, but urges bear baiters to remove all plastic, garbage, and items used to carry in bait.

“Litter in forests is unsightly, destroys wildlife habitats and ruins many opportunities for
recreation,” Lee said. He also noted that litter is a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1,000.

* CO Brent Speldrich of McGregor noticed some “illegal off-highway vehicle (OHV) use by some bear hunters in ‘closed’ state forests” in Aitkin County. OHVs include all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles and off-road vehicles such as four-wheel-drive trucks.

State forests in Minnesota are classified as “managed”, “limited” or “closed” for purposes of
OHV use. No OHV use is allowed in closed forests. The only exception is when hunting or
constructing hunting stands during October or retrieving harvested bears during September
and October.

* CO Jim Guida of Brainerd. He reminds bear baiters and hunters to get permission before crossing or accessing private lands to place bait.

“Trespass is the biggest problem landowners have with hunters so it is critical for hunters to
have good relationships with landowners,” Guida said. “If hunters and other outdoor
recreationists would just make it a standard practice to always ask for permission before
entering any private land, those relationships would improve a lot.”

Tips for bear hunting include:

* Bears taken may be of either sex or any age except that bear cubs may not be taken. Cub bears are defined as bears less than one year old.
* Anyone who takes a bear must tag it using the site tag that comes with their bear hunting license.
* Hunters are required to validate the site tag by punching out or marking with a pen the date of the kill, the sex of the bear, and whether taken by firearms or archery.
* Anyone who takes a bear must present it for registration at a bear registration station within 48 hours after taking, and they must obtain a Big Game Possession Tag.
* Every person who kills a bear must submit a tooth sample to the DNR. The information from bear teeth is used to monitor bear populations.
* Legal shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

For complete information on black bear hunting in Minnesota consult the 2009 Black Bear Hunting Information Booklet or the online version.

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