Update from DNR on Bear Season Rule Changes

Hello Wisconsin Bear Hunters,

It is hard to believe, but bear season is less than 2 months away. The training season is up and running, I’m hearing good reports from the field. I thought I’d take this time to update you on two important issues.

First, the state budget included a couple important changes for the bear program – elimination of the Class B license and an increase in the application fee for Class A licenses. The following guidance on these issues was prepared in cooperation with our Law Enforcement and Customer Services colleagues:

Class B bear license eliminated
A Class B bear license is no longer required to bait bears, train dogs to track bear, act as a back-up shooter, or assist hunters with pursuing bears provided that a person does not shoot, shoot at, capture, take, or kill the bear (unless acting as a back-up shooter). Any individual may now participate in bear hunting and training activities without a Class B bear license any time those activities are permitted and in compliance with applicable regulations. Feeding bears for non-hunting purposes, such as recreational viewing, remains illegal.

  • All Class B bear license products have been removed from ALIS and online license sales site.
  • Refunds? The Class B bear license was required for part of the baiting and bear dog training season and those who purchased that license had an opportunity to use it. Therefore, there will be no refunds on Class B bear licenses purchased for the 2015 bear season.
  • The 2015 Bear Hunting Regulations are already printed and those cannot be changed. The online regulations will be updated soon.
  • Wildlife is working to update the Wisconsin Bear Baiting and Feeding Regulations publication.

Class A bear license application fee increased
The Class A bear license fee increased $1.50 and is now $4.50.

Electronic Registration

I’d also like to update you on registration procedures for the 2015 season. As you know, bears are included in the Department’s transition to electronic registration. We have been working to implement the registration and sample submission changes we discussed at our last bear committee meeting in December. Our Wildlife Policy Team has approved a final plan for registration and sample submission which includes the following elements:

  • Bears will be registered electronically by phone or computer, all data collected previously will continue to be collected including the Game Management Unit (former DMU’s) of harvest.
  • Business who are willing to provide electronic registration services to hunters may voluntarily do so, those businesses will be listed on the DNR website: http://prodoasext.dnr.wi.gov/inter1/pk_cwd_regpub$.startup
    This list is just now being pulled together, we hope to have more stations listed before the season opens.
  • Successful hunters are required to provide a tooth to the Department. Teeth will no longer be collected at registration stations, all hunters will be required to submit their sample by mail. Hunters will receive a pre-paid business reply mailer with detailed registration and submission instructions in mid-August. They can use this to submit their sample free of charge. In addition, information on where to mail samples will be provided on our website and at the time of registration.
  • To aid hunters in the registration and sample submission process, we are developing a new bear registration website. This site will be easily accessible by searching keyword “bear registration” on the DNR main page. It will include a link to the electronic registration system and detailed instructions on how to register a bear and collect and submit samples. Our plan is to have this site active by mid-August.

While there have been some changes over the last few months, I’m confident we will continue to provide a high quality bear hunting experience and that our hunters will continue to supply us with the data we need to effectively manage the population. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions on these or any other issues.

I hope you are all enjoying your summer,

David M. MacFarland
Large Carnivore Specialist
Bureau of Wildlife Management
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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