Minnesota's Bear Harvest Increased

MN DNR, Bear Hunting Magazine

Minnesota hunters took 2,795 bears this fall, up from 2,135 in 2008. The success rate among those hunting was 30% up from 26% in the past few years.

The Minnesota DNR (Department of Natural Resources) did issue fewer bear hunting permits this fall than in recent years because they believed the population had been decreasing. Now, they are unsure what to think, said Dave Garshelis, DNR bear project manager in Grand Rapids.

There are a couple of ways to think about it, he stated. Either we took a few too many bears, or the population is better than we thought.

Garshelis and other DNR wildlife biologists are now in the second year of a study to determine the states bear population. Hunters submitted ribs and teeth from the bears they took this year. Wildlife officials use chemical markers in the samples to determine the bear population and the results should be available later this winter.

More than 17,000 hunters applied for the 10,000 permits available this fall, up from a low of 15,725 in 2006. In the late 1990s, as many as 30,000 hunters applied for the permits each year.

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