SEARSBURG, Vt – The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is asking southern Vermont bear hunters to avoid shooting bears with yellow ear tags and radio collars during this fall’s hunting season. The bears are collared as part of an ongoing study on the effects of a proposed wind energy development within Green Mountain National Forest in the towns of Searsburg and Readsboro.
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is studying how the construction and operation of the wind turbines affects local bears. This is the first wind energy development proposal within a national forest nationwide. The study will help inform future wind energy developments that are proposed in bear habitat.
“This study will provide important information about Vermont’s bears and will help us to manage for a healthy bear population,” said Jaclyn Comeau of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. “Each collared bear represents a large commitment of money and staff time, so we’re asking hunters to please help us better understand the species they enjoy by not shooting any collared bears.”
Comeau urges hunters to take a moment to identify whether a bear in the area has collars or tags, as they are not always easy to see. Collared bears may currently be found in the towns of Wilmington, Whitingham, Searsburg, Readsboro, Stamford, Woodford, Bennington, and Pownal, although bears are a wide-ranging species and may disperse into surrounding towns as the fall progresses. There are roughly 12 collared bears in the region.