The state will reduce the number of bears it will allow hunters to kill this year. Meanwhile, help may be on the way for farmers bothered by hungry bears.
The DNR board has accepted a staff recommendation to cut the bear harvest from about 4,600 last year to a target of 4,000 this year. DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang says the state wants to go easy because the last few bear hunts have been quite successful, “As hunters take more bears off the landscape, by design, we are trying to reduce bear nuisance problems. Hunters have done that and we are adjusting accordingly.”
Wallenfang says there's still as estimated 18,500 bears in Wisconsin, way up from 25 years ago. This year's bear quotas would actually rise in a northwest zone of the state and one stretching across central Wisconsin. The DNR board has also asked for ways to help hunters kill more bears on farms where bears are eating corn. A more specific plan may be developed later this year.