Applications for Minnesota bear hunting licenses are being accepted now through Friday, May 2, at any Minnesota Department of Natural Resources license agent, online at http://www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense and by telephone at 888-665-4236. A total of 3,750 licenses are available in 11 permit areas, the same number of licenses available last year. Bear licenses cost $44 for residents and $250 for nonresidents. The season opens Monday, Sept. 1, and closes Sunday, Oct. 12.
Notification to successful lottery winners will be made in mid-to late May. The deadline to purchase licenses awarded by lottery will be Thursday, Aug. 1. Any remaining unpurchased licenses will be available to those eligible starting at noon on Wednesday, Aug. 6. 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.
By offering the same number of licenses as last year, the DNR continues to work toward its goal of gradually increasong Minnesota’s bear population. The state’s bear population was estimated at 17,000 in 2008. Trends since then suggest that today’s population is 10,000-15,000. Reducing the number of bear licenses results in hunters harvesting fewer bears, allowing the population to gradually increase.