DNR: Minnesota bear harvest down a bit, and that's good

The state’s bear season opened Sept. 1.

Rob Parrott’s longtime bear-searching pal, Lawrence Taylor, got here up from Austin, Texas, to hunt once more this fall. That makes 14 years. Parrott lives in Saginaw.

By night of opening day, Sept. 1, Taylor had his bear. He was searching within the Floodwood space. Parrott, a former bear information and nonetheless an enormous-recreation processor, had baited for Taylor till his arrival every week earlier than the season. Taylor took over from there.

The season, which continues via Oct. 15, is off to an excellent begin, stated Parrot.

“It has been actually good,” he stated. “Final yr I processed 10 or 12 bears the entire season. We have already got 10 in. Undoubtedly, the numbers are up.”

Searching success can range extensively from one space to a different based mostly partially on the supply of pure meals within the woods. Hazelnuts and berries have been much less ample this fall in some locations, Parrott stated. Consequently, hungry bears making an attempt to placed on weight earlier than denning have been interested in some hunters’ baits.

DNR registration figures, although, point out that the harvest is down from final yr at this level, which is what DNR biologists need to see. As of Sept. 5, the general bear harvest stood at 1,217, stated Andy Tri, analysis wildlife biologist with the Minnesota Division of Pure Assets.

“That is 25 % decrease than for a similar interval final yr,” Tri stated. “That is good. We’re making an attempt to rebuild the bear inhabitants, and a decrease harvest than final yr will assist us attain that objective.”

Hunters in Minnesota shot 2,641 bears final fall, greater than DNR officers anticipated and probably the most since 2012. The DNR issued three,350 bear permits in its quota zone this fall, down from three,850 final yr. The state’s bear inhabitants is estimated at 12,000 to fifteen,000.

Most bears are taken early within the season, Tri stated. Over the previous 5 years, sixty three % of complete harvest was taken within the season’s first week, and seventy eight % was taken within the season’s first two weeks, Tri stated.

Bear guides Alice and Justin Wiese of Wheezy Outdoor in Grand Rapids additionally had a superb opening weekend. The Wieses had 12 hunters in camp for the opener.

“We had eight bears for 12 hunters on opening day,” Alice Wiese stated. “All inside the first 5 hours. It received fairly loopy.”

One other Wheezy Outside shopper obtained his bear the next day. One other hunter handed on a bear, and one different hunter missed one, Justin Wiese stated.

“We’re actually glad with the hunt up to now,” he stated on Wednesday, Sept. 6. “We’ve got just one man who hasn’t seen a bear so…

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