(Courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources)

Black bear harvest authorization applications due Dec. 10

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds black bear hunters that applications for the 2023 season are due by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2022.

Hunters can apply for harvest authorizations or purchase preference points toward future drawings at GoWild.wi.gov or through an authorized license agent.

Preliminary estimates show hunters harvested approximately 4,100 bears during the 2022 black bear season. Final harvest totals will be available at a later date. In the meantime, DNR staff and the Bear Advisory Committee are currently determining the 2023 harvest quotas.

The drawing for 2023 harvest authorizations will take place in early February.

With growing interest in bear hunting in Wisconsin and a limited number of licenses, the DNR encourages the public to review management zone boundaries and license wait times while making hunting plans.

Last year’s bear drawing results and zone-specific wait times are available on the DNR’s website.

Bear permit applicants must apply at least once during any period of three consecutive years to retain their accumulated preference points otherwise all accumulated preference points will be lost.

If an applicant is selected in the drawing, their preference points will be reset to zero, even if they do not purchase the harvest permit. Applicants must remain aware of the drawing status.

Applicants selected in the drawing are notified by mail shortly after the drawing and may purchase their 2023 Class A bear license beginning in March 2023. Applicants may also check their status online through their Go Wild customer account.

The current zones are part of the Wisconsin Black Bear Management Plan, 2019-2029, developed by the DNR Bear Advisory Committee and approved by the Natural Resources Board in May 2019. The new bear management zones are designed to address bear conflicts and manage desired population levels effectively.

The season structure for the 2023 bear season is as follows:

Zone A, B and D:

  • Sept. 6 to Sept. 12 – with the aid of dogs only
  • Sept. 13 to Oct. 3 – with the aid of dogs, aid of bait, and all other legal methods
  • Oct. 4 to Oct. 10 – with the aid of bait and all legal methods not using dogs

Zone C, E, and F:

  • Sept. 6 to Oct. 10 – with the aid of bait and all other legal methods not using dogs

For more information on bear hunting in Wisconsin, visit the DNR bear hunting webpage.