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Maine hunters can find bear age info online

From the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

-- Coinciding with the start of this year's bear hunt, Maine bear hunters who voluntarily submitted a tooth from their bear in 2009 now can learn the age of the bear on the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife's website at http://maine.gov/ifw/hunting_trapping/hunting/bear.htm#help.

Maine's general black bear hunting season began Aug. 30 and runs through Nov. 27.  The season for hunting black bears with dogs is Sept. 13 to Oct. 29, and the season for hunting with bait is Aug. 30 to Sept. 25. Hunters are asked to consult their hunting law books for additional season information or visit the department's website.

The Department received bear teeth from 971 hunters or 27 percent of the hunters who harvested a bear in 2009. The oldest bear was a 25-year-old female, and the oldest male bear was 20 years old. Like most hunted populations, older bears make up a smaller proportion of the harvest with just over one-third of the bears being three years old or older.

Knowing the age of the harvested bears provides a valuable tool for monitoring the health of Maine's black bear population, and determining the effectiveness of management programs which contribute to a stable bear population.
The research effort continues and the IFW department again asks bear hunters to submit a tooth from the bear when it is registered.

Check station will provide instructions for submitting a tooth. At the end of the year, check stations and will send the teeth to the lab, and the ages for bears taken during the 2010 season will be posted on the department's website next fall.

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