Wisconsin Black Bear Hunting

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Wisconsin is a hunting haven, and black bear hunting opportunities are amongst the most sought after in the state. Wisconsin’s annual bear hunt occurs in the fall, with the draw deadline occurring on December 10th of the year preceding the hunt. Bear densities vary greatly in the state, with the majority of the population and hunting opportunity in the northern regions of the state. Residents and nonresidents acquire tags in the same method, which is through the annual Wisconsin bear draw process. Below we’ll cover how the application works, including the Wisconsin bear hunting zones, available seasons, and other important information.

When is the Wisconsin Black Bear Draw?

The Wisconsin Black Bear application deadline is the same each year, with applications due no later than December 10th for the following year’s season. To receive reminders for this application or others, add it to your OnPoint Account via the web, Apple, or Android app.

Wisconsin Bear Hunting Zones

Wisconsin is divided into six bear hunting zones. Tags are specific to an individual hunting zone. Below is the Wisconsin bear hunting zone map.

Wisconsin Bear Hunting Seasons and Dates

Wisconsin bear season generally runs from September 6th through October 10th. Within the season, there may be date limitations that allow or restrict the use of bait, dogs, or other hunting methods. These restrictions also vary based on the zone in which the hunting permit is valid.

Wisconsin 2023 Bear Hunting Seasons

Below are the season dates for the 2023 hunting season. Dates have not yet been released for the 2024 hunting season.

Zones A, B, D: where dogs are permitted
Sept. 6-12with aid of dogs only
Sept. 13–Oct. 3with aid of dogs
with aid of bait
with all other legal methods
Oct. 4–10with aid of bait
with all other legal methods not using dogs
Zones C, E, F: where dogs are not permitted
Sept. 6–Oct. 10with aid of bait
with all other legal methods not using dogs

How the Wisconsin Black Bear Draw Works

The black bear draw is managed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and applicants apply through the Wisconsin GoWild website.

Black bear permits are allocated using a preference point based system. Draw odds vary greatly based on the hunting zone applied for. When applying, hunters will first have the option to choose a preference point only, or to apply in the draw. If you choose to apply, you will then choose the zone you wish to submit your application for. Tags are awarded based on highest preference first. They are then awarded randomly to remaining applicants that have the minimum required preference point value for the unit.

Points are reset to zero after a successful drawing. First time applicants will be given a preference point value of 1 in the draw. Applicants with prior points will have 1 added to their point value to determine their point value for the upcoming draw.

Wisconsin Black Bear Draw Odds

Wisconsin allocated 12,760 bear permits in 2023, while it received nearly 140,000 applications. Of those applications, 105,748 were for preference points only. Zones A and B have substantial demand, requiring high point quantities to draw permits. Units C through F can be drawn with 1-2 points, and over 50% of first year applicants drew a permit in zone E in 2023. More details on drawing statistics can be found here.

Below is a table of the number of tags awarded and minimum preference points required to draw a tag in 2023.

ZonePermits AwardedMinimum Points Required in 2023

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