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DNR issues fewer bear tags after back-to-back record harvests

black bear
black bear

MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) - Bear hunters will be getting slightly fewer hunting permits this year following a decision by the Natural Resources Board.

The board voted last week to issue just over 8,500 permits for the 2013 bear hunting season, which is down from the three previous years. Big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang says the DNR has been issuing those record permits to keep up with a larger than expected bear population. “The Bear Hunters Association and other groups are supportive of getting back to more normal harvest levels after intentional record kills. Despite a slight decrease this year, we’re still going to see exceptional hunting opportunities compared to just five or six years ago.”

The areas in which permits are being heavily issued is changing as well. The record seasons helped decrease nuisance bears in the northern units of the state, but higher numbers remain in the southern units. Wallenfang says hunters should see the most permits being issued in Zone C.

More than 100,000 hunters applied for permits this year. Many applied only to receive future preference points for drawing a license. Those who will receive their tags this year will need to have between 3 and 9 points.

More info on this year's bear hunt is available online at http://dnr.wi.gov