By Lars Dalseide | August 25 2014 15:39

From the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Bear harvest quota increased in northwestern Wisconsin to address nuisance complaints and ag damage

Wisconsin black bear image courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Spooner, Wisconsin - In an effort to help address human-bear conflicts in an area of northwestern Wisconsin that has had serious conflicts in recent years, state wildlife officials significantly increased the number of bear harvest permits in that area for the upcoming bear hunting season.

The goal in is to reduce the bear population in an area designated as bear zone D [PDF], in response to a high level of bear related complaints from residents last year, according to Mike Zeckmeister, Department of Natural Resources wildlife supervisor for northwestern Wisconsin.

"We would like to focus bear harvest in the southern portion of Zone D including Barron, Polk, Washburn, and Burnett counties where we have higher bear numbers and the highest number of bear related issues" Zeckmeister said.

The new quota will also provide additional hunting opportunities at a time when the popularity of bear hunting continues increase and also increase the chances of hunters harvesting a bear.

"Our goal is to have bear hunters who have waited and drawn a harvest tag to reduce locally high bear populations," Zeckmeister said.

Hunters harvested more than 3,800 bears during the 2013 bear season. Nearly a third or 1,200 of those bears were taken in Zone D. This year the DNR put in place a Zone D quota of 1,600, which is the highest it's ever been.

"This four county area, in the southern portion of Zone D, offers tremendous opportunities to harvest a bear in 2014," said Zeckmeister.

Hunters had to apply for harvest permits for the 2014 Wisconsin black bear season by December 10 of last year. Hunters who were successful in receiving permits should have already received notification. Hunters can also go to the online licensing center to check their permit status.

The bear hunting season opens September 3, and Brad Koele, DNR wildlife damage specialist says bear hunters still looking for a place to hunt should consider properties enrolled in the Agricultural Damage Program. Under this program farmers receiving damage abatement assistance for damages caused by bear are required to open their property to the public for bear hunting. A list of these properties can be found by searching the DNR Website dnr.wi.gov for keywords "Damage Permit Hunting."

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