Don't shoot collared bears during hunting season, Minnesota DNR says

With bear hunting season set to start on September 1, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reminding hunters to not shoot bears marked for research.

The DNR says it is monitoring 35 bears across the state with radio collars. These bears are also marked with large, colorful ear tags that can be identified more easily. 

"We are asking hunters to avoid shooting these valuable research bears," Andy Tri, Minnesota DNR bear research scientist said in a press release. "These collared bears give us much of the data we use in bear management and are most valuable to us when they are collared for multiple years. Thank you to hunters who have opted to not take collared bears in past years and hunters who will choose to not harvest collared bears this season."

The bears live across the state, but mainly near the Chippewa National Forest, Camp Ripley Military Preserve, the Pillsbury State Forest, and the Brainerd/Baxter area. 

It is important to remember that the bear’s coat can hide the radio collars, but the ear tags are always plainly visible. Bears with smaller ear tags and no collar are also part of a research project. However, it is legal to hunt them. 

The DNR asks any hunters who shoot a collared or ear-tagged bear to call the Minnesota DNR Wildlife Research Office at 218-328-8879 or 218-328-8874.