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Montana's Spring Black Bear Season In Full Swing

April 21, 2009.

From Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks:

Montana’s black bear hunting season opened April 15.

A new law passed by the Montana Legislature now allows hunters to purchase a black bear license after April 15 at FWP offices, but hunters must wait five days before they can participate in the spring hunt. Only one black bear license is issued to an individual each year.

Montana’s spring black bear season runs until May 31 in most districts.

Montana’s hunting black bear hunting regulations stress two important aspects of the spring bear hunt.

  • Hunters must have successfully passed FWP’s bear identification training and test.
  • It is illegal to take female black bears with young, or black bear cubs—that is, bears less than one year old.
    "Montana’s black bear hunters are urged to continuously hone their bear identification skills so they can distinguish a black bear from a grizzly," said Thomas Baumeister, FWP’s Hunter Education Coordinator.

    Grizzly bears are not legal game anywhere in Montana. FWP’s bear identification training makes learning how to identify grizzly and black bears interesting—and the training is accompanied by an online hunt. Hunters can take the bear id course as a refresher by going online to fwp.mt.gov on the Education page.

    "Black bear hunting calls for a measure of patience from all hunters," Baumeister said. "It can take some time to be certain a bear is a black bear and not a grizzly. Similarly, cubs that are accompanying a female black bear are rarely visible immedatiely."

    Baumeister said black bear hunters need to be patient and take the time necessary to hunt a black bear within the law.

    "Taking a female black bear and leaving a cub behind, or shooting a grizzly bear because you didn’t take the time to positively identify it are wildlife crimes," he said. "But they are also crimes against other law abiding hunters."

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