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Bear hunt permit applications due May 1

Applications for this fall's black bear hunt now are available at any of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) 1,650 license agents or online.

Hunters interested in the Sept. 1 - Oct. 18 hunt can apply for one of 10,000 available licenses spread across 11 permit areas. Applications are due May 1. Hunters picked in the lottery must pay $38 for a resident license and $200 for a non-resident license.

In 2008, 17,362 applicants applied for 11,850 permits. Hunters harvested a total of 2,135 bears.

"Issuing fewer permits this year reflects the DNR's interest in moderately increasing the black bear population," said Dan Stark, wolf management specialist.

A number of factors are suggesting a declining population. Hunters must submit teeth from harvested bears. DNR wildlife researchers have determined that those teeth are from a younger class of bears. In addition, the hunter success rate is declining and there are fewer nuisance bear complaints.

Bear licenses for the no-quota area, which is the area outside of the 11 permit areas, can be purchased directly at any license agent beginning July 1. No previous application is necessary to buy a no-quota area license. The bag limit remains at two bears in the no-quota area and one bear in all quota permit areas.