The opening of the bear permit application period for the 2021 bear hunting season will be delayed this year while the new 2021 zone structure works its way through legislative review. The application period, which normally opens in March, will open shortly after the review process is completed in late spring/early summer.
The 2021 bear application deadline remains Dec. 10, 2020.
When it’s time to apply, hunters should be aware of potentially changed zone boundaries. It is not known precisely how these changes will affect harvest permit wait times, but there will likely be no significant changes across zones A, B, C and D.
The Wisconsin Black Bear Management Plan 2019 – 2029 was developed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Bear Advisory Committee and approved by the Natural Resources Board in May 2019. The new bear management zones proposed in the plan are designed to address bear conflicts and manage desired population levels effectively.
Wisconsin continues to be one of the premier black bear hunting states in the nation, with ample public hunting lands and a robust bear population that has steadily expanded further south into the central forest and beyond. The new zones will allow management decisions to address both the opportunities and challenges that can arise with an expanding bear population.
Applications are required for a Class A license or to receive a preference point. Hunters must apply at least once during a period of three consecutive years, otherwise all previously accumulated preference points will be lost.