Minnesota bear hunters will be allowed to take two bears for the first time this year when the season opens Aug. 22.
The increased limit is in response to the state's growing bear population, which is estimated at about 31,000 and which has been growing at a rate of about 6 percent annually. Last year the DNR hoped hunters would harvest 6,000 bears but the actual harvest was 3,898.
Applications for the 2001 bear hunting season will be accepted through May 4. Permits will total 21,710 (up 1,000 from last year) and be available for 11 areas. The season will run from Aug. 22 through Oct. 14.
Applications must be made through the Electronic Licensing System (ELS) only. Non-resident applicants are allowed to mail in applications. Licenses are unlimited for a no-quota area that lies outside of the 11 permit areas. These licenses may be purchased from any ELS agent after Aug. 1.
Each hunter who entered the 2000 lottery will be sent a reminder for use when applying for this year's drawing. But this will be the last year hunters will be notified prior to the application deadline. Hunters are advised to subscribe to a new DNR service that will notify them via electronic mail of application deadlines, season openers, etc. Subscribe via the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.
Bear licenses cost $39 for residents and $196 for non-residents. Hunters are not required to pay for the license at the time of application.
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