Vt.'s bear population exceeds 6,000
%reldate(2012-09-01T17:14:00 Eds: APNewsNow.
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont's bear hunting season is under way.
The season runs from Saturday to Nov. 14. Fish and Wildlife officials are reminding hunters to collect a small tooth from each bear they take so the state can monitor the population.
Wildlife biologist Forrest Hammond says 25 years ago, Vermont had fewer than 3,000 bears, which lived mostly in the mountains and northeastern quarter of the state. He says since then the bear population has grown to more than 6,000 and expanded into other areas of the state as a result of changes in hunting regulations.
But Hammond says now the state is seeing more incidents of bears doing damage, primarily when they are attracted to bird seed, pet food left outside, garbage containers, bee hives, chicken coops, barbecues and field corn.