Wisconsin’s 2008 Black Bear Season Harvest

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Permits to increase by 50 percent for 2009 season
Black Bear - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service PhotoMADISON — Preliminary figures indicate hunters harvested more than 2,900 black bears in Wisconsin during the 2008 bear hunting season. This figure is expected to increase slightly in the next month as remaining registration data is entered and is very close to the 2,950 harvest goal for the 2008 season.

Price, Sawyer, and Marinette counties led the state with 259, 220, and 209 bears registered respectively. The preliminary harvest by Bear Management Zone is Zone A: 1,029, Zone B: 657, Zone C: 621, and Zone D: 582.

Hunters submitted 34,529 applications for 4,660 Class A Bear Harvest permits. A total of 81,453 hunters applied for either a harvest permit or a preference point, 1.5 percent more than in 2007. Hunters who apply for but do not receive a Class A harvest permit will receive a preference point for the next year’s drawing. Depending on the zone applied for, it currently takes five to ten preference points in order to draw a harvest permit.

Population study results in; biologists recommend 50 percent more harvest permits
The results of a two-year cooperative study of Wisconsin black bears indicate the population is likely more than two times larger than previously thought. The DNR-funded mark-recapture study was conducted by the University of Wisconsin – Madison Wildlife Ecology graduate student, Dave MacFarland, under the guidance of Dr. Timothy Van Deelen. Members of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association provided valuable assistance by gathering data and providing research supplies and funding.

“This is a great example of the benefits of working with our partners to complete a large and important project,” said Keith Warnke, Department of Natural Resources deer and bear ecologist.

The DNR’s Bear Committee, comprised DNR wildlife biologists and representatives from various groups such as USDA-APHIS, the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association and the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, met this week to establish recommended harvest permit levels for the 2009 bear season.

“With this new information we can confidently make more bear permits available next year-that’s good news for bear hunters.” The following harvest permit levels are proposed, taking the results of the bear population study into consideration: Zone A: 2,585, Zone B: 1,100, Zone C: 2,040, and Zone D:1,230. The total of 6,950 permits is an increase of 50 percent over the number of permits available for the 2008 season. The bear harvest permit recommendations will be reviewed by the Conservation Congress Bear Study Committee and final quota and permit levels will be approved by the Natural Resources Board at the January 27-28, 2009 Natural Resources Board meeting.

“Over the next couple years, we will be working with our partners to re-write the bear management plan to incorporate this new information and structure our goals to address future bear management,” Warnke said.

2009 Season Applications
The deadline for 2009 Black Bear hunting season applications is Dec. 10, 2008. Hunters can apply over the Internet through the Online Licensing Center; by calling toll-free 1-877-WI LICENSE (1-877-945-4236); at license sales locations; or DNR service centers during their regular business hours (check service center link for hours of operation, which vary by service center; service centers are closed Saturdays).

The 2009 bear hunting season will run Sept. 9 through Oct. 13. The opening week of Wisconsin’s bear hunting season alternates between those hunting bear over bait and those hunting with trailing hounds. Hunters using trailing hounds will go first in 2009 in management zones A, B, and D, where the use of dogs is permitted. Hunting over bait will have the first week of the season again in 2010.

Information on bear hunting, hunting seasons, and links to online application information can be accessed at bear hunting page of the DNR Web site or at any DNR Service Center or license vendor.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: contact Keith Warnke – (608) 264-6023 or Linda Olver (608) 261-7588