DNR asks hunters not to shoot radio-collared bears
Hunters participating in Minnesota’s bear season, which opens Monday, Sept. 1, are asked to avoid shooting radio-collared research bears, some of which are marked with large colorful ear tags.
Many of the collars have global positioning units that collect and store data that are downloaded by Department of Natural Resources researchers when they visit the bears in their dens.
“We’re asking that if hunters see ear tags or a collar on a bear, they refrain from shooting it,” said Dave Garshelis, DNR bear research biologist. “Long-term records of individual bears have been the cornerstone of information that helps the DNR monitor and manage the bear population.”
DNR researchers are monitoring about 20 radio-collared black bears in areas including northwestern Minnesota, especially near Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area and the Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge. Additional radio-collared bears that may be the subject of non-DNR research reside in and around the Chippewa National Forest, Camp Ripley, Cloquet Forestry Station, Voyageurs National Park and the Tower area in northeastern Minnesota.
“Hunters near these areas should be especially watchful for these radio-collared bears,” Garshelis said. “Researchers have invested an enormous amount of time and expense in these individuals.”
Photos of some collared research bears are available on the DNR’s bear Web page at www.mndnr.gov/bear.
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.
Hunters who shoot a collared bear should call the DNR wildlife research office in Grand Rapids at 218-327-4146 or 218-327-4133.