Hunters asked not to shoot radio-collared bears
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) asks hunters participating in Minnesota's bear season, which opened September 1, to avoid shooting radio-collared research bears.
The bears are marked with large colorful ear tags or colorful streamers.
DNR researchers are monitoring about 30 radio-collared black bears, most of them in northwestern Minnesota, especially near Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area and the Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge.
Additional radio-collared bears reside in and around the Chippewa National Forest, Camp Ripley, Cloquet Forestry Station and Voyageurs National Park.
Bear research also is being conducted between Ely and Tower near the Eagles Nest chain of lakes in northern St. Louis County.
"These animals provide long-term data on reproduction and habitat use that is invaluable for bear management across the state," said Dave Garshelis, DNR bear research biologist. "We're asking that if hunters see ear tags or a collar on a bear, they refrain from shooting it."
Many of the collars have GPS units that collect and store data, which is downloaded by DNR researchers when they visit the bears in their dens. Long-term records of individual bears have been the cornerstone of information that helps the DNR monitor and manage the bear population, Garshelis said.
DNR officials recognize that a hunter may not be able to see a radio collar or ear tags in some situations. For this reason, taking a bear with a radio collar is legal unless the bear is accompanied by a researcher who has identified the bear to the hunter as a research animal.
Photos of some collared research bears are available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/bear.
Any hunters who shoot collared bears should call the DNR Wildlife Research Office in Grand Rapids at (218) 327-4146 or (218) 327-4133.