Mandatory Bear Tooth Submission
Attention bear hunters and trappers, you are required to submit a tooth from your bear when you register it.
We have provided hunter check stations with the information for submitting a bear tooth. The store clerk or agent will provide you with a tooth envelope and it is the bear hunter's responsibility to:
- Fill out the information on the tooth envelope
- Remove the first upper premolar located behind the canine tooth on the upper jaw.
- Insert the knife or a screwdriver under the front edge of the tooth, and
- Pry the premolar out of the socket using the large canine tooth for leverage.
- We need the root to estimate the age of your bear. If you broke the root, try to remove the other upper premolar or one of the lower premolars.
- Place the tooth in the envelope & seal the envelope.
- Give the tooth envelope to the agent/store clerk.
- The agent/store will mail the tooth to MDIFW.
- We will post the age of your bear on this website the next summer after we receive the report from the lab.
Thank you for your help!
Why is the Department Collecting Teeth from Black Bears?
We are collecting teeth from black bears to help us track the number of bears in Maine and adjust bear hunting regulations when necessary to meet management objectives. Our current management goal is to stabilize the population at 1999 levels (23,000 bears). By knowing the age of the bears harvested, we can estimate how many bears were present in previous years. For example, a 10-year old bear harvested in 2010 was alive for the preceding 9 years and can be added to the population estimate for each year. By repeating this process for each bear harvested, over time we can reconstruct the harvested population. Although this method provides a minimum estimate of the number of bears since bears not harvested arent included in the estimate, it is useful at monitoring whether the population is increasing, decreasing, or stable.