The state Natural Resources Board approved a record number of bear harvest permits at its meeting Wednesday in Madison. The 11,520 permits are intended reach a bear harvest quota of 4,750 and to stabilize the bear population in three bear management units of the state and decrease the population in a fourth unit where there has been a high level of nuisance bear complaints.
"The last seven bear seasons represent the highest bear harvests in state history and Wisconsin continues to lead the nation with more bears harvested than in any other state," Dave MacFarland, carnivore staff specialist for the Department of Natural Resources, told board members.
"Quotas were developed through the evolution of population monitoring, harvest conflict, and input from key stakeholders," MacFarland said.
The season structure for the 2016 bear hunt is Zone C (dogs not permitted) Sept. 7 to Oct. 11 - with aid of bait and all other legal methods not using dogs. All other zones (use of dogs permitted): Sept. 7-13 - with aid of bait and all other legal methods not using dogs; Sept. 14 to Oct. 4 - with aid of bait, dogs, and all other legal methods; and Oct. 5-11 - with aid of dogs only. For more information, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "bear."