ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota wildlife managers plan to hold the number of bear hunting licenses steady this year to help gradually increase the bear population.
Minnesota's bear population was estimated at 17,000 in 2008, but the Department of Natural Resources says trends suggest the population is down to between 10,000 and 15,000. The DNR's large carnivore specialist, Dan Stark, says the decline came from a deliberate decision to reduce the bear population, which had climbed during the 1990s and early 2000s.
A DNR report says hunters killed 1,866 bears in 2013, the lowest since 1988, which apparently let the population grow slightly.
The DNR plans to issue 3,750 licenses in 11 permit areas, same as last year. Applications are being taken through May 2. The season opens Sept. 1 and closes Oct. 12.