Wisconsin bear hunters almost hit the season quota on bears registered in the state, with the third highest tally in history.
Wisconsin bear hunters registered a total of 4,643 bears for the 2016 season. That's the third highest total in the state's history, and is only 107 animals shy of the 4,750 season quota set by the DNR.
The total is also an 11% increase over last year's total.
DNR large carnivore specialist David MacFarland said that, "Wisconsin continues to have a healthy bear population, which provides more hunting opportunity than any other state in the country."
The season ran from September 7 to October 11. Out of 109,211 applications the DNR issued 11,520 permits to hunters. That means that approximately 1 of every 2.5 hunters scored a bear this year.
The DNR also estimated the bear population at just under 30,000 animals, the highest in state history since such estimates have been taken.
The Wisconsin Journal Sentinel also reported the harvest totals in each zone of the state:
The 2016 bear kills by zone were 1,135 for Zone A (north central Wisconsin), 833 for Zone B (northeast), 1,071 for Zone C (south of Highway 64) and 1,603 for Zone D (northwest).
The bear population is very healthy in Wisconsin, and harvest totals have been consistently high over the last decade.
The Journal Sentinel also reported the black bear harvest totals over the last seven years:
- 4,009 in 2009
- 5,133 in 2010
- 4,257 in 2011
- 4,646 in 2012
- 3,952 in 2013
- 4,279 in 2014
- 4,198 in 2015
Prior to the season DNR wildlife biologist Greg Kessler indicated that the acorn crop was not as plentiful as it had been in 2015, which suggested that bear kill success rates should be high, although the bears might be of smaller average size.
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