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Bear season harvest shows increased hunter success

Preliminary data from the Wisconsin DNR, shows hunters harvested 4,129 bears during the 2020 Wisconsin black bear season, an increase from the 3,679 reported in 2019.

“Wisconsin is a national leader in bear hunting, and preliminary registration data shows that to be true once again this year,” said Randy Johnson, DNR large carnivore specialist.

The data from this year’s harvest, will determine future harvest levels and ensure that Wisconsin’s bear population remains healthy, and sustainable into the future.

In the first week of bear season, in early September, there were below-average temperatures, rain and even a couple hard frosts across much of the northern part of the state. That weather can be generally favorable for bear hunting, particularly for hunting with the use of bait.

The second week was mostly dry, with moderate temperatures, which can be more favorable for those hunting with hounds. In addition, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, people may have had more time to devote to hunting bear this year, than in other years.

Reflecting continued high interest in Wisconsin’s bear hunting opportunities, more than 119,000 hunters applied for either a harvest permit or preference point for the 2020 season.

Hunters wishing to obtain a permit or preference points for the 2021 season, are encouraged to apply through GoWild before the Dec. 10 deadline. New zones will be in effect for the 2021 season, and hunters should check the new zone map, before selecting their zone in GoWild.

“The bear hunting tradition in Wisconsin is very strong, and interest in the activity continues to grow,” said Johnson.