While hunters search for does this weekend in Wisconsin, others may be looking forward to their chance at a bear this fall. Those who wanted a permit to bear hunt in Wisconsin had until earlier this week to apply. Black Bear hunting permits increased 50 percent for 2009.
Tim VanDeleen, UW Madison Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology, participated in a cooperative study with the Bear Committee, which includes DNR biologists and other groups like the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association. Two years ago, they placed tetracycline-laced bacon baits. During the following harvest season, the scientists recovered the bears that eaten the baits. Based upon the numbers and other research modeling, VanDeleen says they estimated up to 30,000 bears exist in the state, that's twice the number than originally thought.
VanDeleen believes the DNR's conservative, rather than dramatic, increase in the hunting quota was "very responsible."
The 2009 bear season will run September 9 through October 13.