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More bear harvest permits slated for Northwestern Wisconsin

To help address human-bear conflicts in part of Northwestern Wisconsin, state wildlife officials have significantly increased the number of bear harvest permits in the area for the upcoming bear hunting season.

The goal is to reduce the bear population in the area designated as bear zone D in response to a high level of bear-related complaints from residents last year, said Mike Zeckmeister, Department of Natural Resources wildlife supervisor for Northwestern Wisconsin.

“We would like to focus bear harvest in the southern portion of Zone D including Barron, Polk, Washburn and Burnett counties, where we have higher bear numbers and the highest number of bear-related issues,” Zeckmeister said in a statement.

Hunters took more than 3,800 bears during the 2013 bear season in Wisconsin. About 1,200 of those bears were taken in Zone D. This year the DNR put in place a Zone D quota of 1,600, which is the highest it’s ever been.

Hunters had to apply for harvest permits for the 2014 Wisconsin black bear season by Dec. 10 of last year. Hunters who were successful in receiving permits should already have received notification. Hunters also can go to the online licensing center to check their permit status.

The bear hunting season opens Sept. 3.