A new requirement for California bear hunters
"Bear hunters taking to the field this season, if successful, will need to have their heads more closely examined," the department announced in a news release Wednesday.
No tips on exactly what psychological insight biologists are seeking or how the results might be used.
Further reading of the release reveals the department really wants hunters to pull a tooth from every bear they kill, a change from the previous requirement that they extract a tooth from every other bear.
The teeth are sent to a Montana laboratory, where they are cut in half, stained and examined under a microscope to determine the animal's age and, in the case of females, reproductive history.
The request for more population data comes in the wake of last year's proposal, rejected by the Fish and Game Commission, to expand the geographic area of the state's bear hunt and lift the cap on the number of animals killed.
The department estimates there are more than 30,000 black bears in the state, 1,700 of which can be harvested each year.
-- Bettina Boxall
Photo: A black bear in Sequoia National Park Credit: Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images