Bear hunt applications available; deadline is Friday, May 6

Applications for Minnesota bear hunting licenses are being accepted now through Friday, May 6, wherever Minnesota hunting and fishing license are sold, online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense and by telephone at 888-665-4236.

A total of 3,850 licenses are available in 13 permit areas. Bear licenses cost $44 for residents and $230 for nonresidents, and there is a $5 application fee. The season is open from Thursday, Sept. 1, through Sunday, Oct. 16.

Notification to lottery winners will be made by June 16. The deadline to purchase licenses awarded by lottery will be Monday, Aug. 1. Any remaining unpurchased licenses will be available over the counter starting at noon on Friday, Aug. 5.

An unlimited number of bear licenses will be sold over-the-counter for no-quota areas in east-central and far northwestern Minnesota. No-quota licenses are valid only in a no-quota area. Hunters with a no-quota license can harvest one bear.

Bear license numbers in the quota area have increased from 3,700 last year to 3,850 this year. The increase is the result of increasing permits in areas 45 and 51 where managers have been having increasing bear conflicts. Increasing permits may help address some of those bear conflict issues. In all other areas, bear permit numbers have remained about the same for the last three years in an effort to allow bear population numbers to gradually increase.

Hunters that previously hunted in permit areas 26 and 44 and intend to do so in 2016 must review new permit area boundaries. These areas have changed to incorporate four new permit areas: 27, 28, 46, and 47. Areas 28 and 47 have been created to manage the bear population in coordination with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and their request to create bear quota areas that reflect the Leech Lake Reservation boundaries. Maps are available on the DNR website and on the bear lottery application.

Complete information on the fall bear hunt is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/bear.