Hunters participating in this fallâ€™s bear hunt, which opens Wednesday, should avoid shooting radio-collared or ear-tagged bears, say Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wildlife officials.
It is legal to for a hunter to take a bear wearing a radio collar unless the bear is accompanied by a researcher who has identified the bear to the hunter as a research animal.
DNR researchers are monitoring about 35 radio-collared black bears, most of them in northwestern Minnesota. 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.
â€œHunters near these areas should be especially vigilant for collared bears,â€ said Dave Garshelis, DNR bear research biologist, in a prepared statement. â€œHowever, bears travel widely in the fall, sometimes 50 miles or more, so collared bears can turn up almost anywhere.â€
Most of the monitored bears have brightly-colored ear-tags to make them more visible to hunters. Some bears also have brightly-colored tape or streamers on their collars. Â DNR officials recognize that a hunter may not be able to see a radio collar or ear tags in some situations.
Any hunters who do shoot collared bears should call the DNR Wildlife Research Office in Grand Rapids at (218) 327-4146 or (218) 327-4133.