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2009 Wisconsin bear and spring turkey application deadline Dec. 10

Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are reminding hunters they have until Dec. 10 to apply for a permit for the 2009 Wisconsin spring turkey hunting season or for the 2009 Wisconsin black bear hunting season.

Applications and the required $3 permit application fee can be purchased: over the Internet through the Online Licensing Center; by calling toll-free 1-877-945-4236; at license sales locations; or DNR service centers during their regular business hours.

Preliminary permit levels for the spring turkey season are set at 221,034 permits, an increase from 211,425 total permits available for the 2008 spring season.

The third annual spring turkey youth hunt will be held April 11-12, the weekend prior to the opening Wednesday of the first regular season.

The hunt is open to youths 12 - 15 years of age (residents and nonresidents) who possess a hunter education certificate of accomplishment and a spring turkey license, stamp, and a valid permit (carcass tag) for the 2009 spring turkey hunting season.

Permits used during the youth hunt can be for any hunting period of the spring 2009 season, but youth hunters are restricted to the turkey management zone for which the permit was issued.

Bear permits

Based on the results of a two-year cooperative study of the black bear population in Wisconsin that found the population is likely more than two times larger than previously thought, the DNR bear committee has decided to substantially increase the number of permits available for the 2009 season.

The DNR-funded mark-recapture study, conducted by the University of Wisconsin - Madison Department of Wildlife Ecology, estimates the black bear population in Wisconsin is actually closer to 26,000 animals, nearly double previous estimates that were based on observations.

Based on this information the bear committee has recommended a total of 6,950 permits for the 2009 season, an increase of 50 percent over the number available in 2008.

The 2009 bear hunting season begins Sept. 9 and runs through Oct. 13. Hunters who hunt with the aid of dogs will go first next year in those management zones open to hunting bear with dogs.

The opening week of Wisconsin's bear hunting season alternates to allow those who hunt over bait to go first one year and those who hunt with aid of dogs to go first the next year.