Black bear population in VT is estimated at 7,000 to 8,500 based on 2022 data

MONTPELIER — Vermont’s black bear population is estimated at 7,000 to 8,500 based on 2022 data, the most recent available, according to recent information issued by the Fish and Wildlife Department. Black Bear Project Leader Jaclyn Comeau stressed that the current population estimate is not a basis for changes to Vermont’s bear management at this time. She added that today’s robust bear population is the result of a decades-long research and conservation effort that includes land protection, regulated hunting and significant public education on proactive conflict prevention. As recently as the early 1970s Vermont’s bears were found only in mountainous areas and the Northeast Kingdom, and likely numbered between 1,500 and 3,500. Today they are found in every Vermont town except for communities on Lake Champlain islands. Since the mid-1990s the population has been relatively stable, fluctuating from 4,000 to 7,500 bears in consistent cycles of growth and decline. The population has seen steady growth since 2019.