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Home > Hunting & Trapping > Hunting > Bear Hunting

Bear Hunting

Bear Hunting Permits

Bear Hunting Laws and Rules

Bear Hunting Season

Dog Training Season

Registration, Tagging, and Transportation

Bear Harvest Information

Bear Hunters Are Required To Submit A Bears Tooth When They Register Their Bear

Bear Harvest by Age (Tooth data) (2011) Results

Bear Harvest by Age (Tooth data) (2010) Results

Bear Harvest by Age (Tooth data) (2009) Results


For information on trapping bear (season, permits, laws), see Bear Trapping.

 

Maine Black Bear

For 2011 updated reports by Biologists Randy Cross and Jennifer Vashon, see Maine's Black Bear.

 

 

 


Bear Hunting Season for 2013

  • General Hunting (without use of bait or dogs) - August 26, 2013 through November 30, 2013
  • Hunting with Bait - August 26, 2013 through September 21, 2013 (Bait can be placed beginning July 27, 2013)
  • Hunting with Dogs - September 9, 2013 through November 1, 2013

Attention bear hunters that submitted a bear’s tooth in 2008 and 2009 - Thank you for volunteering the tooth from the bear you harvested in 2008 and 2009, this information will help us monitor black bear population levels and ensure a stable bear population.

These teeth were sent to a lab to estimate the age of each bear.  Not only is the age of the bear interesting to the hunter, but it provides a very valuable tool for monitoring the health of Maine’s black bear population. By learning the age structure of a sample of bear’s harvested each year (number of 1 year olds, 2 year olds, etc.), we can obtain a minimum population estimate and over time track whether the population is increasing, decreasing or stable.  Teeth from harvested black bears provide another opportunity for the Department to monitor Maine’s bear population and the effectiveness of our management programs.   When necessary, regulated hunting season can be modified to meet bear management goals. 

Currently, our management programs are designed to stabilize Maine’s bear population at current levels to maintain hunting and viewing opportunities while minimizing conflicts between bears and people.  Since Maine is home to one of the largest black bear population in the eastern United States, residents and visitors enjoying outdoor pursuits are provided tremendous opportunities to hunt and view black bears.  Often the trade off with abundant wildlife populations can be an increase in conflicts between wildlife and people. Because fewer bears are found in the more human populated southern and coastal sections of Maine, bear conflicts are lower than would be expected.  However, conflicts do occur, especially in the spring when bears emerge from their winter dens.   Most bear conflicts can be resolved by removing or securing human food sources (e.g. bird seed, pet/livestock foods, trash, etc.) that are attracting bears to backyards when natural foods are low especially in the spring.  For more information on resolving conflicts with bears please use the below link.

http://www.massaudubon.org/Nature_Connection/wildlife/index.php

2008 tooth ages

Beginning in 2008, MDIFW asked bear hunters to voluntarily submit a tooth from the bear they harvested.  We received teeth from 1,061 hunters which equates to 41% of the hunters who harvested a bear in 2008.  Hunters who voluntarily submitted a tooth in 2008 can now learn the age of the bear they harvested. The oldest bear was a 28 year-old female, while the oldest male bear was 20 years old.  Like most hunted populations, older bears made up a smaller proportion of the harvest with just over a third of the bears over 3 years old.  The lab was able to identify the age of most bears, however the root of a few teeth were damaged and an age could not be determine. We were not able to identify the names of 12 hunters due to recording errors on tooth envelops.  We greatly appreciate the help of bear hunters, check stations, and guides that assisted with providing teeth from bears harvested in 2008.  We plan to continue this effort each year with future continued support from the bear hunting community.  Thank you for helping us learn more about Maine’s black bear population and insuring the continued health of Maine’s bear population. 

NOW AVAILABLE Additional 2008 Tooth Ages

In 2008, we received teeth from 24 hunters after we shipped our teeth to the lab.   We’ve determined the age of these 24 bears and can now provide these hunters with the age of the bear they harvested in 2008. 

NOW AVAILABLE 2009 Tooth Ages
 
Hunters who voluntarily submitted a tooth in 2009 can now learn the age of the bear they harvested. Initially, we received teeth from 971 bears harvest in 2009 (28%).  Like last year, some teeth arrived late and the ages from these bears will be provided as soon as they are available.  Thus far the oldest bear was a 25 year-old female, while the oldest male bear was 20 years old.  Like most hunted populations, older bears made up a smaller proportion of the harvest with just over a third of the bears over 3 years old.  Although the lab was able to identify the age of most bears, the root of a 13 teeth were damaged and an age could not be determined. We were not able to identify the names of 19 hunters due to recording errors on tooth envelops. 

We greatly appreciate the help of bear hunters, check stations, and guides that assisted with providing teeth from bears harvested in 2008 and 2009.  We plan to continue this effort each year with future continued support from the bear hunting community.  Thank you for helping us learn more to ensure for effective conservation and management of Maine’s black bear population. 

Attention 2010 bear hunters - Again this year, we are asking for your help in monitoring the health of Maine’s black bear population. If you are successful, please submit a tooth from the bear you harvest. We have provided hunter check stations with the information for submitting a tooth. To view this information, see the tooth removal procedure below. We wish you the best of luck with an enjoyable and successful bear hunt this fall.

Tooth removal procedure
The best tooth for determining the age of a bear is the first upper premolar (“P1" in Figure A below). If this tooth is not available, any other small tooth in the upper or lower jaw will suffice. (Note that removal of a tooth will not affect mounting, as the actual skull is not used.)



Upper jaw of Black Bear


Cut the gum tissue deeply around the tooth with a knife. Then insert the knife or a screwdriver under the front edge of the tooth, and using the large canine tooth for leverage, pry the premolar out of the socket. When removing the tooth, please be especially careful not to break off the root, as this is the part needed for age determination. If you do break the root, try to remove another tooth.

Dog Training Season

Maine residents may train up to 6 dogs at any one time on bear from July 1st to the 4th day preceding the open season on hunting bear. This does not pertain to portions of Washington and Hancock Counties that are situated south of Route 9. During dog training season, it is legal to train dogs on Sunday. New: A person must possess a valid hunting license to engage in these activities.

Bear Hunting Permit

Outside of the firearms season on deer, a special bear hunting permit (in addition to a hunting license) is required to hunt for bear.

The fee for this permit is $27.00* for residents and $74.00* for nonresidents and aliens.

(*Plus agent fee).

During the firearms season on deer, nonresidents and aliens are required to obtain a late season (November) bear permit, if they do not possess an early season bear permit. The fee for this permit is $40.00*. (*Plus agent fee).

Bear Hunting Laws and Rules

Bait may not be used to hunt for bear from September 23, 2013 to November 30, 2013.

Hunting with the use of bait is defined as hunting from an observation stand, blind or other location which overlooks any bait or food except standing crops and foods that have been left as a result of normal agricultural operations or natural occurrence. “Bear Bait” means any animal or plant, or derivative of an animal or plant, used to attract bear. “Bear bait” does not include any packaging or container materials that fall within the definition of litter under Title 17, §2263.

Bait may not be used to hunt or trap black bear unless:

  • The bait is placed at least 50 yards from any travel way that is accessible by a conventional 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive vehicle;
  • The stand, blind, or bait area is plainly labeled with a 2 inch by 4 inch tag with the name and address of the baiter;
  • The bait is placed more than 500 yards from any solid waste disposal site or campground;
  • The bait is placed more than 500 yards from an occupied dwelling, unless written permission is granted by the owner or leasee;
  • The bait is placed not more than 30 days before the opening day of the season and not after October 31st;
  • The bait areas will be cleaned up by November 10th as defined by the State litter laws; and
  • The person hunting from any stand or blind of another person has permission of the owner of that stand or blind.

A permit is required from the Bureau of Parks and Lands, (207) 287-3821, to place bait on Public Reserved Land for the purpose of hunting bear. Baiting of animals is prohibited in State Parks and Historic Sites.

  • Dogs may not be used to hunt bear during the open firearm season on deer.
  • No more than 6 dogs may be used at any one time to hunt for bear.
  • Nonresidents may not use a dog or dogs to hunt for bear unless they employ and hunt with a resident Maine guide. (This section does not apply to nonresidents who hold a valid Maine guide license — they may hunt bear with the use of dogs themselves and guide residents but not nonresidents). The total number of clients with a licensed guide may not be more than five.
  • You may not kill or wound a bear that is treed or held at bay by another person’s dog or dogs unless you have permission from the person conducting the hunt.
  • You may not hunt or trap bear or release dogs to hunt for bear within 500 yards from sites permitted or licensed for the disposal of solid waste.

Other Laws Pertaining to Bear Hunting

  • Prior to registration, bears may be cut up for ease of transportation, but all parts of the bear (except for the viscera and rib cage) must be presented and in such a manner that the sex of the animal can be determined.
  • It is unlawful to hunt bear after having killed and registered one during the open season of that calendar year.
  • Gift bear may not be possessed unless each part is clearly labeled with the name and address of the person who registered the animal and the year in which it was registered.
  • For information on buying, selling or bartering animals.
  • For information on tracking wounded bear see details on the Leashed Dog Tracking License.
  • For information on firearms and other hunting laws, see current hunting law book.

Trapping a Bear

You may trap a bear in Maine from September 1 to October 31. One cage style trap or foothold snare set at or below ground level may be used for this. A special trapping permit is required for residents ($27) or nonresidents and aliens ($67).

For more information about bear trapping, see Trapping in Maine.