Black bears are Vermont's most reclusive big-game animal. They inhabit most of the state
and are often encountered. Vermont has one of the most dense black bear populations in
the country, approximately one bear for every three square miles. The population is in
good health due to constant monitoring and some modifications in hunting regulations.
Bears may be hunted during a an early season and a late season. The limit is one bear per calendar year.
Hunting bears with the use of bait
is prohibited. Bears may be taken with the aid of hounds, provided the person in charge of
the dogs has a bear-dog permit, no more than six dogs are used, and no commercial guiding occurs.
The key to stalking bears is finding concentrated natural food sources in or near prime
bear habitat. Early in the season, preferred foods include late-ripening berries, black
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 afternoon is one of hunting's most exciting challenges. The
reward in terms of the meat it produces is also great. When properly prepared, bear meat
compares favorable to pork.
Bears require large tracts of undisturbed forest land and are most abundant in the
Green Mountain and Northeast Kingdom regions.
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For current hunting seasons and dates, click here.