Mandatory bear tooth sample

Hunters are required to submit a mandatory bear tooth sample by Nov. 1. Failure to submit this sample is a game and fish violation.

The ages of harvested bears is vital information for maintaining a healthy bear population in Minnesota.

The age of your bear can be determined by counting the rings in the root of the small tooth behind the canine (P1 in diagram A below). Extract this tooth before freezing or taking the bear to a taxidermist. The taxidermist is not responsible for submitting the tooth.

A bear tooth envelope that contains instructions and materials needed to submit a tooth sample are available at bear registration stations. The envelope contains a survey form, ziplock bag and tissue paper.

If you are unable to obtain a bear tooth envelope from a bear registration station, please call the Minnesota DNR Forest Wildlife and Populations Research Group at 218-328-8872 or DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-MINNDNR (646-6367) to request an envelope.

Preferred teeth

Drawing showing how to take a mandatory bear tooth sample
  • Cut the gum tissue around the small tooth behind the upper canine (P1 in diagram A above) and pry the tooth out with the root intact (see B above).
  • Collect two teeth, one from each side of the upper jaw.
  • Wash teeth to remove any tissue or blood.
  • Place the teeth in the tissue paper, fold twice and insert in the plastic ziplock bag.
  • Answer the questions on the back of the instruction card, making sure to include your MNDNR number.
  • Insert the completed card, the plastic bag containing the two teeth and  your license stub (all unfolded) into the white fiberboard envelope.
  • Print your return address on the front, seal, and mail before the Nov. 1 deadline.

Alternate teeth

The circles in the photos below show the teeth that can be extracted to get an age on your bear in case the normal teeth needed are unavailable or they are broken.

Photo with circles around teeth in the upper jaw that can be pulled for sampling if preferred teeth are broken or missing

Circles around teeth in the upper jaw that can be pulled for sampling if preferred teeth are broken or missing

Upper jaw

Photo with circles around teeth in the lower jaw that can be pulled for sampling if preferred teeth are broken or missing

Circles around teeth in the lower jaw that can be pulled for sampling if preferred teeth are broken or missing

Lower jaw

Sample submission

To get an age on your bear, there must be a complete, intact root.

If you submit at least 1 useable bear tooth by Nov. 1, we will mail you a Minnesota Bear Management Cooperator patch and the age of your bear by May 15 of the year following your hunt.

Failure to submit a tooth (at all or by Nov. 1) from harvested bears is a violation.

If you change your address or have questions, let us know by calling 218-328-8879 or 218-328-8874.

If you lose or are unable to obtain a bear tooth envelope, please follow these instructions:

  • Clean the tooth thoroughly and place in a zip-lock bag, wrap tooth in tissue paper or aluminum foil.
  • Mail in a padded envelope with all relevant information (include a copy of your bear registration info and the survey info on the following page) to:
    • DNR Wildlife Research
    • Minnesota DNR
    • 1201 E. Highway 2
    • Grand Rapids, MN 55744
    • This type of envelope will require additional postage over a standard letter.