No New Rules for Hunting Collared Bears

A rule requiring the Department of Natural Resources to ask bear hunters not to shoot radio-collared bears was removed from the Minnesota Legislature’s recently passed omnibus game and fish bill. The rule was requested by Ely area bear researcher Lynn Rogers.

The Duluth News Tribune reports on the issue in THIS story wrapping up details of the game and fish bill which awaits Governor Mark Dayton’s approval.

Last year, two of Rogers collared bears were legally killed by hunters. Rogers is the Chairman of the North American Bear Center, which gained fame recently as it followed the activities of the collared bears it named Lily and Hope.

Earlier this year, Rogers requested that the Minnesota DNR make it illegal for hunters to kill radio-collared animals. DNR commissioner Tom Landwehr chose not to do so, listing among his reasons that Rogers’ research was not essential to bear management in the stat and that bear hunting typically takes place in low light conditions, making identification of collared animals difficult; and that bears are a public resource not specially reserved for any individual.

Landwehr added that legislation was the proper avenue for any changes in bear hunting rules.

“If society believes individual animals should be protected,” he said in THIS news release last February. “I believe the legislature is best suited to make that change to reflect the will of the people.”

By choosing not to change bear hunting rules, the Legislature keeps collared bears legal to harvest.

According to the News Tribune story, DNR officials will send letters to Ely area hunters asking them not to kill collared bears. The DNR did so in 2009, but not in 2010, when two of the bears collared by Rogers were killed.

The DNR did publish THIS media release last year asking hunters not to shoot collared bears.

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