Record 12,970 permits awarded for 2018 Wisconsin black bear hunt

MADISON – Notifications have been sent to 12,970 hunters who successfully drew a black bear permit for the 2018 hunting season.

All hunters who applied for a harvest permit can check their status online at Successful applicants should have received a postcard in the mail.

“Bear hunting has become an extremely popular outdoor activity in Wisconsin,” noted Scott Walter, DNR large carnivore specialist. “For the 2018 season, we had over 124,000 individuals apply for either a harvest permit or preference point.”

This year’s harvest quota of 4,550 was approved by the Natural Resources Board at its January 2018 meeting. The quota was set with the intention of reducing the population in northwest Wisconsin and stabilizing the population in the rest of the state. While the 2018 quota is slightly lower than the 5,000 permits awarded in 2017, permit levels were corrected for recent trends in hunter success and thus increased compared to the number available in 2017.

The season structure for this year’s bear hunt is as follows:

Zone C (dogs not permitted):

Sept. 5 to Oct. 9 – with aid of bait and all other legal methods not using dogs.

All other zones (use of dogs permitted):

Sept. 5-11 – with aid of bait and other legal methods not using dogs;
Sept. 12 to Oct. 2 – with aid of bait, dogs, and all other legal methods; and
Oct. 3-9 – with aid of dogs only (bait may be used to locate bear to hunt with the aid of dogs).

For more information, search the DNR website,, for keyword “bear.”