The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Board is scaling back black bear hunting permits for the 2019 hunting season.

The Natural Resources Board unanimously approved 11,595 permits for 2019, down from 12,970 last year. Two of the state’s four bear management zones in far north-central Wisconsin and south-central Wisconsin will see decreases in available permits to combat a declining bear population in the north and growing hunter density in the south. About 200 more permits will be available across the other two zones in far northeastern Wisconsin and far northwestern Wisconsin than last year.

It was reported that DNR large carnivore specialist Scott Walter told the Natural Resources Board that Wisconsin hunters harvested 3,600 bears in 2018, compared to 4,159 in 2017. Walter estimated the 2019 black bear population at approximately 24,000 bears. 

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