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Contact: Randy Johnson, DNR Large Carnivore Specialist or 715-499-0010

Black Bear Harvest Authorization Applications Due Dec. 10

A black bear standing in the woods staring into the camera. Applications for the 2024 black bear season are due by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2023. Photo credit: iStock/rpbirdman

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds black bear hunters that applications for the 2024 season are due by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2023.

Hunters can purchase applications for permit drawings online through Go Wild, the DNR’s license portal, or at an authorized license agent.

Preliminary estimates show hunters harvested more than 2,900 bears during the 2023 black bear season. Final harvest totals will be available at a later date. In the meantime, DNR staff and the Bear Advisory Committee are determining recommendations and harvest quotas for the 2024 bear season.

Drawing And Licensing Process

The drawing for 2024 harvest authorizations will take place in early February.

With growing interest in bear hunting in Wisconsin and a limited number of licenses, the DNR encourages the public to review management zone boundaries and license wait times while making hunting plans.

The DNR's website has a full breakdown of the 2023 bear drawing results and license wait times.

Bear permit applicants must apply at least once during any period of three consecutive years to retain their accumulated preference points. Otherwise, all accumulated preference points will be lost.

If an applicant is selected in the drawing, their preference points will be reset to zero, even if they do not purchase the harvest permit. Applicants should be aware of their drawing status.

Applicants selected in the drawing are notified by mail shortly after and may purchase their 2024 Class A bear license beginning in March 2024. Applicants may also check their status online through their Go Wild customer account.

The current management zones are part of the Wisconsin Black Bear Management Plan, 2019-2029, developed by the DNR Bear Advisory Committee and approved by the Natural Resources Board in May 2019. The bear management zones are designed to address bear conflicts and manage desired population levels effectively.

2024 Bear Season Structure

Zone A, B and D:

  • Sept. 4 to Sept. 10 – with the aid of bait and all other methods not using dogs.
  • Sept. 11 to Oct. 1 – with all legal methods, including the aid of bait and dogs.
  • Oct. 2 to Oct. 8 – with the aid of dogs only.

Zone C, E and F:

  • Sept. 4 to Oct. 8 – with the aid of bait and all other legal methods not using dogs.

For more information on bear hunting in Wisconsin, visit the DNR’s bear hunting webpage.