Minnesota bear update, lottery deadline

The reports I’ve gotten from hunters and wildlife managers indicate bear hunting has been a challenge so far this year across northwest Minnesota.

Bear season opened Sunday.

Gretchen Mehmel, manager of Red Lake Wildlife Management Area south of Roosevelt, Minn., said this morning that she’s only registered one bear so far. Ditto for Randy Prachar, manager of Roseau River Wildlife Management Area up near the Canadian border.

An abundance of berries and other natural foods means the bears are less likely to hit hunters’ bait sites. And if they hit the sites at all, they’re doing it at night, based on a handful of reports I’ve received. I haven’t received any photos from successful bear hunters, either, and in recent years I’ve had a half-dozen or more by this time.

In other news, if you’re going to apply for an antlerless deer permit or wolf hunting or trapping license, today’s the deadline. Hunters in several northwest Minnesota deer permit areas that weren’t lottery last year will have to apply for an either-sex permit this year if they want a shot at taking a doe. Lottery deer areas this year are 101, 103, 105, 108, 110, 111, 118, 119, 122, 169, 171, 172, 176, 183, 184, 197, 199, 234, 237, 238, 250, 251, 252, 253, 260, 261, 262, 263, 266, 267, 268, 269, 270, 271, 272, 274, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 294, 295, 296, 297, 298 and 299.

Meanwhile, the DNR is offering 2,000 early-season and 1,300 late-season wolf licenses this year, with a minimum of 325 late-season licenses reserved for trapping. Anyone selected in the lottery must purchase their license by Nov. 1 for the early season and by Nov. 22 for the late season.

Lottery applications can be made at any DNR licensing agent, online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense or by phone at (888) 665-4236.

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