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Bear hunters who are successful in 2019 and after would be required to submit a bear tooth sample to be eligible for the upcoming year’s bear hunting license lottery under a new rule proposed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR has for many years required hunters to submit bear tooth samples. In response to low compliance, the agency two years ago began mailing letters reminding hunters to send the samples. The proposed rule would give hunters an incentive to follow the legal requirement, and the DNR would stop sending the letters.

Biologists use the tooth samples to determine the age of each harvested bear and ultimately estimate how many bears live in the state.

“These tooth samples help the DNR gather enough data for a good population estimate, and we will no longer have to pay the cost of mailing the letters,” said Paul Telander, DNR wildlife section chief.

The change is the only new proposal in a rule package that moves dozens of temporary wildlife rules that have been in effect for several seasons to permanent status. Because the rules are already in effect, hunters won’t notice a difference when they become permanent.

An example of a temporary rule that would become permanent is sandhill crane hunting, which has been open in northwestern Minnesota by temporary rule since 2010.

A copy of the draft rules and more information about how to comment is available online at mndnr.gov/input/rules/wildlife.

The DNR will accept written comments supporting or opposing the rule changes through Tuesday, Jan. 22. Comments may be submitted to Jason Abraham, Box 20, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4020 or by email at .

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