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Friday, August 28, 2015

DNR asks bear hunters not to shoot radio-collared bears

The Department of Natural Resources asks hunters participating in Minnesota's bear season that opens Tuesday, Sept. 1, to avoid shooting radio-collared research bears. The animals are marked with colorful ear tags.

Many of the collars have global positioning units that collect and store data that are downloaded by DNR 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, 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 Camp Ripley, north of Grand Rapids, and near the Cloquet Forestry Station. 

"Hunters near these areas should be especially watchful for these valuable research 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 website 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.

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