The number of permits that will be issued to Wisconsin black bear hunters this year will remain about the same, but the state Department of Natural Resources is scaling back its projections for the 2012 bear hunting season.
DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang says the agency is lowering its harvest quota, with about 4,600 bears anticipated to be taken by hunters later this year. That’s down from about 5,200 in 2011. The state Natural Resources Board is expected to approve the change later this week.
While the total statewide bear population is largely unknown, Wallenfang says they believe it held steady or possibly dropped in recent years. He says that’s based on projections from hunters harvesting fewer older or larger male bears, showing the selection is just not as good as it has been in years past.
Despite hunters being less selective, Wallenfang says the agency does not believe the state’s bear population is in any trouble. The state will issue just over 9,000 Class A bear hunting licenses this year for a season that runs from September to October.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:09)