First off, I've never felt the need to go after a bear for food. Some people really like it. Me? I'll stick to deer. Although, they say that it's pretty comparable to venison, many find bear sweeter and more tender. However, the flavor will vary depending on the age of the bear and what it's been eating. If it has been feeding on fish or dead animals, it can have a pungent flavor that is not enjoyable. Say it's been eating berries though; and you'll get a sweeter flavored meat. Usually, younger bears are said to have a milder taste, while older bears have a richer and more intense flavor, best described as "gamey." That's the same with any animal really though. Pork, deer, cattle; I've helped butcher them all, and that statement stacks up pretty well across all species.

A Black Bear is looking out of a Forest in Canada
Credit: heckepics
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But I digress, according to a press release from the Wisconsin DNR, applications are due soon for the 2024 black bear hunting season, and hunters are reminded that the deadline is December 10th, at 11:59pm. Applications for permit drawings can be purchased online through Go Wild, the DNR's license portal, or at authorized license agents.

Credit: Lynn_Bystrom
Credit: Lynn_Bystrom
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Preliminary estimates indicate that over 2,900 bears were harvested during the 2023 season, and final harvest totals will be available soon. The DNR, along with the Bear Advisory Committee, is currently working on recommendations and harvest quotas for the upcoming season.

Black Bear In A Tree
Credit: JimVallee
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The drawing for 2024 harvest authorizations is scheduled for early February. Due to the growing interest in bear hunting and limited licenses, the DNR encourages hunters to review management zone boundaries and license wait times while planning their hunts. Bear permit applicants must apply at least once every three consecutive years to retain accumulated preference points.

Credit: Wisconsin DNR
Credit: Wisconsin DNR
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Wisconsin 2024 Bear Season Structure:

Zone A, B and D:

  • Sept. 4 to Sept. 10 – with the aid of bait and all other methods not using dogs.
  • Sept. 11 to Oct. 1 – with all legal methods, including the aid of bait and dogs.
  • Oct. 2 to Oct. 8 – with the aid of dogs only.

Zone C, E and F:

  • Sept. 4 to Oct. 8 – with the aid of bait and all other legal methods not using dogs.
Credit: Wisconsin DNR
Credit: Wisconsin DNR
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"Wisconsin's bear population is managed primarily through hunting by offering hunters a quality experience while being managed under a strict quota/permit issuance system designed to ensure the long-term future of the population. More than 129,000 hunters applied for 11,530 permits in 2021, making the wait to receive a harvest permit approximately 1 to 12 years, depending on the bear management zone. However, when one finally receives a permit, the opportunity to harvest a bear is better than 40% for most zones and some of the biggest bears in the country are taken in Wisconsin. Several bears registered by hunters each year top 600 or 700 pounds!"

-Wisconsin DNR, Black Bear Management

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The bear season structure for 2024 includes specific dates for different zones, allowing various hunting methods such as bait, dogs, and legal methods. Hunters are urged to check their drawing status online and be aware of the 2024 Class A bear license purchasing window, beginning in March 2024. For more detailed information, including zone specifics, visit the DNR's bear hunting webpage.

Credit: Lynn_Bystrom
Credit: Lynn_Bystrom
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