LRP - Licenses

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LRP - Permits

Recreation - Statewide

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Recreation - Hunting

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2017 black bear harvest
Zone Total Registered
Zone A 1,069
Zone B 816
Zone C 1,010
Zone D 1,264
Total 4,159
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for hunter safety. Required if you were born on or after January 1, 1973.
your hunting license.
for a permit and check permit status online.
the regulations.

Some simple recommendations to avoid problem bears [PDF]. Photo courtesy of Emery Orlikowski of Green Bay

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Bear hunting

The Wisconsin Black Bear Management Plan 2019 – 2029 was developed by the DNR Bear Advisory Committee and approved by the Natural Resources Board in May, 2019. The plan is intended to both guide future management actions and provide the interested public a concise and informative overview of black bear ecology and management in Wisconsin. It contains detailed information on black bear ecology and population dynamics, the history of black bears in Wisconsin, and the goals, objectives, and strategies intended to guide bear management over the next decade. This document will serve to anchor bear management in the best available science, and we hope it will also serve as effective communication tool for the people of Wisconsin. Among the changes are new zones, which will not go into effect until the 2021 black bear season; current zones will therefore remain in place for both the 2019 and 2020 bear seasons. Many thanks to all who provided input and helped to create the updated plan!

The black bear is viewed as both a symbol of Wisconsin's wildness and as choice prey. Seeing a black bear in the wild is an exciting experience for many and an equal thrill for those who prize the black bear as a big game species. The Wisconsin black bear population is thriving and expanding its occupied range in the state. In 2010, 8,910 harvest permits were available and hunters responded by harvesting more than 5,000 bears, the highest bear harvest documented in Wisconsin history!

Check out the 2019 fall bear hunting forecast [PDF].

Season information

Check your preference points

There are three ways in which hunters can determine the number of preference points that they have accumulated. You must apply for a bear license or preference point at least once every three years to avoid losing your accumulated preference points. To find out about how many points you have accumulated:

  • contact the DNR Call Center 1-888-936-7463;
  • visit the online licensing center; or
  • contact your local DNR Service Center.

Drawing information

Applications for a Class A bear license can be made at any authorized license agent, DNR Service Center, online or by calling 1-877-945-4236. Please note paper applications are no longer available. The deadline for bear season applications is always December 10.

For the 2019 bear application drawing, individual winners were chosen based on their preference points. All unsuccessful applicants retained their preference point following the drawing.

Status of preference points in drawing [PDF]

Check your status in the bear application drawing

It is the permit applicants responsibility to know their drawing status and whether they were selected for purchasing a harvest permit. There are three ways in which hunters can determine whether they were selected in the drawing. To find out about how many points you have accumulated or your drawing status:

  • contact the DNR Call Center 1-888-936-7463;
  • visit the online licensing center; or
  • contact your local DNR Service Center.
Contact information
If you have any questions please contact:
Scott Walter
Large carnivore specialist

If you are experiencing problems with bears and are located in northern Wisconsin, please contact USDA Wildlife Services at 800-228-1368 (in-state) or 715-369-5221. In southern Wisconsin call 800-433-0663 (in-state) or 920-324-4514.

Last revised: Thursday August 29 2019