Please try not to shoot the research bears

Categories: Animals
bear tag.jpg
Try not to kill this female, the oldest known black bear in North America.
If you see a black bear with a red necklace, know two things: You are not hallucinating, and you probably shouldn't shoot it.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking bear hunters to not kill about 35 bears that are being followed for a state research study on habitat and mating. The bears are tagged with brightly colored radio collars that monitor behavior, and with colorful tags in their ears that are also designed to make them easier to spot.

There are around 20,000 black bears in Minnesota, most in the northwestern part of the state, and their life is pretty sweet except for one thing: guns. About 80 percent of all black bear deaths in Minnesota are the result of hunting, according to the DNR.

Among other things, the DNR's study is trying to answer the question of just how long black bears can live: The oldest known black bear in North America, a 37-year-old female, lives in Minnesota. 

bear tag 2.jpg
The bright colors are meant to be visible from a distance.
About 3,000 bears are hunted each year in Minnesota, a number that becomes a lot more impressive when considering how short bear hunting season is. Open season is only six weeks, and this year runs from September 1 to October 16.

Dave Garshelis, a bear researcher with the DNR, pleaded with hunters to not shoot at the valuable research bears, whose collars have a GPS unit that the DNR uses to track their movements.

"We're asking that if hunters see ear tags or a collar on a bear, they refrain from shooting it," Garshelis said. "Researchers have invested an enormous amount of time and expense in these individuals."

If anyone does unwittingly shoot one of the research bears, they're asked to contact the DNR immediately. If anyone does it on purpose, he's a jerk.

Clearly, the best strategy for the other bears is to figure out how to make something that looks like one of these collars, and hang out with those elitist research bears.

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3 comments
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Pep
Pep

What does  "If anyone does it on person, he's a jerk" mean?

Bah
Bah

It means that it's not illegal (as much as DNR would like it to be) to shoot a research bear tagged in this manner.  But you would be doing a great disservice to everyone.  Some hunters are selfish and really don't care.  Research bears have been shot before.  They just see a bear and think how much they would like to have shot one.  I've read that what happens a lot of times wth bear hunters is they see a bear, think about having it mounted in their living room, and they never end up even doing that.  The first problem is they are often unprepared to even be able to transport their kill, much less know what kind of expense it is to have it mounted. 

I'm not a hunter, it's really not something I would ever do, even if I could afford it.  I do understand the appeal for some, but I'll get my meat from the supermarket thank you very much.  Let the animals live in the wild, while we still have wild for them to live in.

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