The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) closed the 2012 black bear hunting season on Tuesday, Dec. 18.
Under regulations adopted by the Fish and Game Commission, the black bear season must be closed when DFG verifies 1,700 bears are taken by hunters or on the last Sunday in December, whichever occurs first.
As of Tuesday, the DFG has determined the 1,700 limit has been met. Tags yet to be received by DFG will put the total harvest at slightly more than 1,700 bears.
DFG is mailing notices to all bear tag holders, informing them that the season is closed. DFG wardens, biologists and customer service staff will also inform hunters they encounter that the season is closed. Statewide media sources and the California Fish and Game Commission will also be notified.
All bear tags, including unsuccessful tags, must be returned to the DFG Wildlife Branch, P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94299-0002, by Feb.1, 2013.
Tags also can be reported online by logging into the Automated Data Licensing System. More details can be found at http://dfg.ca.gov/licensing/harvestreporting/ .
Hunters must present their bears to a DFG employee for tag validation immediately after taking the bear.
Furthermore, successful hunters must present the skull to a DFG employee within 10 days of taking the bear to collect biological samples.
Teeth and hair samples are extracted from the bears to determine the age of the bear and provide DNA information that will give DFG biologists an indication about the overall health of the state's bear population.