Wisconsin Increases Black Bear Permits for 2008

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The number of available black bear hunting permits for the Sept. 3 through Oct. 7, 2008 Wisconsin bear hunting season has increased slightly to 4,660 from the previous season's 4,405.

Successful permit applicants will receive notification by U.S. mail and may purchase their Class A bear license after March 10, 2008. Hunters can check their drawing status and verify their mailing address by logging onto the Department of Natural Resources Online Licensing Center; at or contacting a DNR service center during their regular business hours (check service center link for hours of operation, which vary by service center; service centers are closed Saturdays); or by calling 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463) 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, seven days a week. DNR customer ID numbers are necessary to check drawing status. Applicants are encouraged to update their mailing address, if necessary, which can be done through any of these methods.

Available permits by hunting zone

Black Bear Management Zone B saw the largest harvest permit increase, up 38 percent to 850 from 615 offered in 2007. Zone C increased 6 percent, up to 1,650 from the 1,560 offered in 2007, and Zone D increased 6 percent to 720 permits, which is 170 more than in 2007.

Only Zone A experienced a decrease in permit levels with 1,440 harvest permits available in 2008, a decrease of 14 percent, from the 1,680 offered in 2007.

Hunters are reminded that for the 2008 bear season, Subzone A1 was renamed to Zone D. With this change, Zone A permit holders will no longer be able to cross over into Subzone A1, now called Zone D.

The proposed change was supported by people attending the 2007 Spring Fish and Wildlife rules Hearings and was later approved by the Natural Resources Board.

"This will give wildlife managers a much better handle on the number of bear hunters hunting in what was Subzone A1," says Linda Olver, assistant DNR big game biologist. "Before this change, any hunter who possessed a permit for Zone A could also hunt in Subzone A1 making it difficult to accurately predict the number of hunters in the zone and hence, manage the harvest at sustainable levels. Because biologists anticipate an increase in the Zone A hunter success rate for 2008, permit numbers were decreased slightly."

The bear harvest permit, or Class A bear license, is awarded through a cumulative preference system. In 2007, the average number of preference points required to draw a harvest permit was 7 points for Zone A, 9 points for Zone B, 5 points for Zone C, and 7 points for Zone D.

Information on bear hunting, hunting seasons, and links to online application information is available at the 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