A hunter has shot and killed a well-known research bear near Ely, the North American Bear Center said.
Dot, who was 13 years old, was shot Friday while wearing a radio collar with colorful ribbons, researchers Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield wrote for an online update for the Bear Center.
"Dot was radio-tracked longer than any other bear in the study, beginning with her life in the den with her radio-collared mother Blackheart," they wrote. "Dot had a great, gentle personality and was a favorite of many who got to see her in the course of her 13 years." Dot got her own radio collar when she was just 1 1/2 years old.
It is legal to shoot a radio-collared bear in Minnesota, but the Department of Natural Resources urges hunters to use restraint.
"These animals provide long-term data on reproduction and habitat use that is invaluable for bear management across the state," DNR bear research biologist Dave Garshelis said in a statement before the hunting season. But the DNR says officials recognize that a hunter may not always see a bear's radio collar or ear tags.
The Duluth News Tribune reported Dot is the second radio-collared bear to be shot during this bear season, which opened Sept. 1; a bear named Aster was apparently shot and wounded Sept. 5. Rogers said he expects Aster will recover.
In Dot's case, Rogers and Mansfield said that Friday afternoon, "her GPS locations showed her signal moved quickly from the forest to the town of Ely. We drove to Ely and located the radio-collar in the conservation officer's truck awaiting delivery to the DNR office in Tower and eventual return to us."
Rogers was told Dot was killed "in a hunting situation," the researchers said.
The DNR did not immediately return messages seeking comment Sunday from The Associated Press.
Hunters have killed least nine of Rogers' radio-collared bears over the years, including two in 2010.
Earlier this year, the DNR revoked Rogers' permits, and he was ordered to stop placing collars on bears and stop putting cameras in dens. But there was an appeal to an administrative law judge, and a temporary compromise allows researchers to have collars on up to 10 bears.
With Dot's death, the bear center has nine collared bears, including Aster.
Information from: Duluth News Tribune, http://www.duluthnewstribune.com
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