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Bear - General Regulations

Resident and Nonresident Bear Hunting License Privileges

To hunt black bear, hunters must possess one of the following valid license combinations: resident (Classes X+DS, Classes XJ+DS, Classes AB-L+DS, Classes A-L+DS, Classes A+CS+DS or Classes Q+CS+DS); or nonresident (Classes EE+DS+CS/LE); or a free license (Military, Disabled Veteran, former POW or Senior Citizen). Underage residents and resident landowners may hunt bear without a license.


Additional licenses must be purchased:

  • to hunt on national forest lands: Class I (required for Classes A, Q and EE)
  • to hunt with a handgun: Class A-1 (must be 21 or older, required for all hunters except resident landowners)


It is illegal to:

  • hunt bears with the use of bait.
  • feed bears.
  • hunt a bear with
    1. a shotgun using ammunition loaded with more than one solid ball,
    2. a rifle of less than .25 caliber using rimfire ammunition
    3. a pistol or revolver using a straight-walled case of less than .357 magnum cartridge or a bottle-necked case of less than .24 caliber or
    4. a muzzleloading pistol of less than .38 caliber.
  • hunt bear between 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise
  • kill or attempt to kill any bear through the use of poison, explosives, snares, steel traps or deadfalls.
  • shoot at or kill a cub bear weighing less than 100 pounds or to kill any bear accompanied by such cub.
  • pursue a bear, after the chase has begun, with dogs not in use at the beginning of the hunt.
  • kill more than one bear per year.
  • organize for commercial purposes, or to professionally outfit a bear hunt, or to give or receive any consideration whatsoever or any donation in money, goods or services in connection with a bear hunt.
  • for nonresidents to hunt bear with dogs, except in certain designated counties during the bear gun season.


Field Tagging, Checking and Transporting

Each person killing a bear must, within one hour and before moving the carcass from where it was killed, complete and attach a game field tag. This tag must bear the hunter's name, address, hunting license number (if required) and the date, time and county of the kill. The field tag must remain on the carcass until it is dressed for consumption.

A person killing a bear must, within 24 hours after the kill, transport the bear or its fresh skin to a conservation officer or an official game checking station for retagging. A checking tag must be affixed to the bear before any part of it may be transported more than 75 miles from the point of kill, and shall remain on the skin until it is tanned or mounted.


Penalties For Chapter 20 Bear Law Violations

These penalties are not subject to suspension by the court.

1st Offense

$1,000 to $5,000 fine or 30 to 100 days in jail, or both. Also includes suspension of hunting and fishing licenses for two years.

2nd Offense

$2,000 to $7,000 fine or 30 days to one year in jail, or both. Also includes suspension of hunting and fishing licenses for life.

3rd Offense

FELONY -- $5,000 to $10,000 fine or 1 to 5 years in prison, or both.



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