Bear Carcass Processing in the Field
A. Division of Bear Carcass
Limitation to Five Parts: Hunters are allowed to divide a bear carcass into a maximum of five parts. This regulation is intended to facilitate the removal of the bear from the field while ensuring identifiable parts are preserved for legal and registration purposes.
Exclusion of Hide in Part Count: When dividing the bear, the hide is not included in the five-part count. This distinction allows hunters to manage the carcass and hide separately, providing flexibility in handling and transporting the bear.
Requirement to Keep Head and Neck Attached: To ensure accurate identification and legal compliance, one of the divided parts of the bear, excluding the hide, must include the head and neck attached. This rule aids in species verification and age determination during the registration process.
B. Rules for Hunters Dividing Bear Carcass
Prohibition of Storing or Transporting with Other Divided Bears: To avoid confusion and ensure traceability, a bear divided in the field cannot be stored or transported with any other divided bear prior to registration. This regulation helps maintain individual accountability for each harvested bear.
Specific Division Methods to Measure Bear Size: The division of the bear must be done in a manner that allows one part to be measured in a straight line from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail. This measurement is crucial to determine that the bear is an adult, defined as 42 inches or greater in length.
Obligation to Remove All Parts Except Entrails: All parts of the bear, except the entrails, must be removed from the field. This rule is in place to ensure ethical hunting practices and to minimize the environmental impact of hunting activities.
Transportation of Bear Carcasses
A. Legal Constraints on Bear Carcass Transportation
The regulations surrounding the transportation of bear carcasses are designed to ensure accountability and legal compliance during and after the hunt. These rules are crucial for maintaining the integrity of the hunting process and for proper management of wildlife resources.
Prohibition of Possessing or Transporting Another Hunter’s Bear:
- It is illegal for a hunter to possess or transport the bear carcass of another hunter while in the field. This rule is enforced to maintain individual responsibility and traceability of each harvested bear.
- Exception: After registration, any individual may transport another person's registered bear on public roads or possess it at a residence, home, camp, or business. This allowance provides flexibility for handling and processing the carcass post-registration.
Backup Shooters Regulations
In bear hunting, the role of a backup shooter is vital for ensuring a humane and safe hunt. However, this role comes with specific legal and ethical responsibilities. The regulations outlined here aim to clarify the conditions under which backup shooters may act and the legal boundaries they must adhere to.
A. Conditions for Shooting by Backup Shooters
Valid Bear Carcass Tag Requirement:
- Backup shooters are only permitted to take a shot if the Class A bear license holder has an unused bear carcass tag valid for the zone being hunted. This ensures that the hunt remains within the legal bag limits and hunting zones.
Circumstances Allowing Backup Shooters to Fire:
- Backup shooters may act only in situations where a bear, previously shot by a Class A bear license holder, was not killed. This is to ensure a humane approach, aiming to prevent prolonged suffering of the animal.
- Additionally, backup shooters can act if killing the bear is necessary to protect the safety of the hunting party or others. This stipulation prioritizes human safety in potentially dangerous situations.
B. Legal Restrictions on Backup Shooters
Possession and Transport of Bear Carcass:
- It is illegal for a backup shooter to possess or transport a bear carcass unless they are also in possession of the validated carcass tag. This rule is crucial for maintaining accountability and traceability of the harvested animal.
Prohibitions on Tag and License Misuse:
- Backup shooters, like all hunters, are prohibited from possessing multiple copies of a unique carcass tag, or possessing, borrowing, or loaning another hunter's license, permit, or tag. These restrictions are in place to prevent abuse of hunting privileges and ensure fair chase principles.
Responsibility for Carcass Tag Validation:
- If a backup shooter kills a bear that was initially wounded by the Class A bear license holder, the responsibility to validate the carcass tag still rests with the Class A license holder. This maintains the responsibility and accountability chain in the hunting party.
Licensing and Permits for Bear Hunting
A. Requirements for Bear Hunters
The process of obtaining the necessary licenses and permits for bear hunting is a crucial step to ensure compliance with wildlife management laws and regulations. The following details outline the essential documentation and conditions that hunters must meet to legally hunt bears.
Class A Bear License:
- A Class A bear license is mandatory for anyone wishing to hunt bears. This license serves as the primary authorization, confirming the hunter's eligibility and adherence to the state's hunting regulations.
- Proof of License: See page 8 of the hunting regulations for acceptable forms of proof of possessing a Class A bear license. This could include physical or electronic documentation, as specified by the regulatory body.
Paper Carcass Tag Requirement:
- Alongside the Class A bear license, hunters are required to have a paper carcass tag. This tag is a critical component of the hunting process, used for validating the legal harvesting of a bear.
- Electronic Copies Prohibition: Electronic copies of carcass tags are not accepted, emphasizing the importance of the physical paper tag in the field.
No License Requirement for Certain Bear-Related Activities:
- Specific activities related to bear hunting, such as baiting for hunting or training purposes, training dogs to track or trail bears, or assisting a licensed bear hunter, do not require a separate license. This exemption facilitates the involvement of individuals in the hunting process without the need for additional licensing.
Validation and Tagging of Bear Carcass
The process of validating and tagging a bear carcass is a critical step in the bear hunting procedure. It ensures that hunters comply with legal requirements and aids in the sustainable management of bear populations. This section outlines the responsibilities of hunters in validating and tagging their harvest.
A. Hunter's Responsibility
Possession of Paper Carcass Tag During Hunt:
- Hunters are required to carry a physical paper carcass tag while hunting bears. This tag is a crucial legal document that must be validated immediately upon the harvesting of a bear.
- Electronic Tag Prohibition: Electronic versions of carcass tags are not acceptable, emphasizing the necessity of the physical tag in the field.
Immediate Validation upon Harvesting a Bear:
- Validation Process: Immediately after killing a bear, the hunter must validate the paper carcass tag. This is typically done by removing a designated portion of the tag, often referred to as the “validation stub.”
- Legal Requirement: This action is a legal requirement and serves as the hunter's immediate record of the harvest, crucial for regulatory and conservation purposes.
Tagging Requirement Prior to Leaving Carcass:
- "If You Leave It, Tag It" Rule: A bear carcass cannot be left unattended unless the validated carcass tag is securely attached to it. This rule is important for accountability and tracking purposes.
- Securing the Tag: The tag should be attached using a string or other fastener as soon as the hunter plans to leave the carcass, even temporarily.
- Tag Protection: To maintain the tag's integrity and legibility, hunters are advised to protect it in a zip-top plastic bag or similar protective covering.
B. Importance of Proper Validation and Tagging
The process of validating and tagging a bear carcass is not only a legal obligation but also a vital part of responsible hunting. It aids in wildlife management and conservation efforts by providing accurate data on bear harvests. Adhering to these procedures ensures that hunters are contributing positively to the sustainable management of bear populations and adhering to ethical hunting practices.
Mandatory Bear Registration
The registration of a harvested bear is a mandatory and critical component of bear hunting regulations. This process helps in wildlife management and conservation by providing accurate harvest data. It also ensures that all harvested bears are accounted for and that hunters adhere to the legal and ethical standards of hunting.
A. Registration Process for Harvested Bears
Electronic Registration Requirement:
- Successful bear hunters are required to register their harvest electronically. This registration must take place in the county where the bear was killed or in an adjoining county.
- Deadline for Registration: Registration needs to be completed by 5 p.m. the day after the bear is recovered, ensuring timely and accurate reporting of the harvest.
Methods of Registration:
- Online Registration: Hunters can register their bear at gamereg.wi.gov, which is the fastest and easiest method.
- Telephone Registration: Alternatively, hunters can call 844-426-3734 (844-GAME-REG) for telephonic registration.
- In-Person Stations: As a third option, hunters may visit in-person registration stations. A list of these stations can be found on the DNR website by searching “registration stations.”
B. Post-Registration Requirements
- Upon successful registration, the GameReg system issues a confirmation number. This number serves as a record for the hunter and should be retained for future reference.
Carcass Tag Retention:
- After registering the bear, the hunter must keep the carcass tag with the meat until all of it has been consumed. This requirement is crucial for legal compliance and potential verification purposes.
Bear Season Dates
The establishment of specific hunting season dates for bears is a crucial aspect of wildlife management, ensuring sustainable population control and conservation. These dates are designated based on various factors, including ecological and conservation considerations. Adherence to these dates is mandatory for all hunters.
A. Zone-Specific Hunting Dates
Each bear management zone has designated dates during which bear hunting is allowed. These dates are set to manage bear populations effectively and to accommodate different hunting methods.
Dates for Zones A, B, and D:
- With aid of Dogs Only: September 6–12.
- With Aid of Dogs, Bait, and Other Legal Methods: September 13–October 3.
- With Aid of Bait and Other Legal Methods (Not Using Dogs): October 4–10.
Dates for Zones C, E, and F:
- With Aid of Bait and Other Legal Methods (Not Using Dogs): September 6–October 10.
B. Hunting Methods and Restrictions
Specific methods and restrictions are associated with each date range to ensure ethical hunting practices and effective management of bear populations.
Use of Dogs and Bait:
- The use of dogs and bait in bear hunting is regulated, with specific periods during which each method is allowed. These regulations are in place to ensure a fair chase and to minimize potential conflicts with other wildlife and human activities.
Proximity Restrictions for Bait Placement:
- Bait may not be placed within 50 yards of any established or maintained trail, road, or campsite, and not within 100 yards of a roadway with a posted speed limit of 45 MPH or more.
- Baiting regulations also include requirements on how the bait site is managed when checked or re-baited, and restrictions on hunting over bait in violation of these regulations.
Additional Baiting Regulations
Baiting, a common practice in bear hunting, involves specific rules and regulations designed to ensure ethical hunting and minimize environmental impact. These regulations are critical for maintaining a fair chase and protecting other wildlife species.
A. Bait Placement Rules
Timeframe for Bait Placement:
- Bait may be placed for bear hunting or training bear dogs beginning April 15 through the last day of the bear season. This specific timeframe is established to align with the bear's natural feeding patterns and to reduce undue influence on bear behavior outside of the hunting season.
Quantity and Enclosure Requirements:
- At any bait site, no more than 10 gallons of bait, including liquid scent, may be used. This limit is set to avoid over-concentration of bears and potential habituation to human-provided food sources.
- Bait must be enclosed in a manner that prevents access by deer and other non-target species. Methods such as using a hollow log or a hole in the ground capped with natural materials are recommended.
B. Restrictions on Bait Composition
Prohibited Materials in Bait:
- Bait may not contain any material that could harm wildlife, including metal, paper, plastic, glass, processed wood, or other similar materials. An exception is made for a processed wood bottom affixed to a hollow log or stump for containing the bait.
Avoidance of Chocolate:
- Hunters are encouraged to minimize or avoid the use of chocolate in bait, as it is toxic and can be lethal to bears and other wildlife, especially cubs.
Animal Part and By-product Restrictions:
- Bait may not contain any animal part or by-products, such as honey, bones, fish, meat, solid animal fat, animal carcasses, or bacon grease. However, liquid scents and cheese are exceptions to this rule.
Feeder Types Prohibition:
- The use of automatic, mechanical, or gravity feeders designed to automatically deposit or replenish bait is not permitted.
Mandatory Bear Tooth Sample Submission
The submission of bear tooth samples is a mandatory requirement for bear hunters. This scientific practice is crucial for wildlife management and conservation, as it provides biologists with valuable data on bear populations, including age demographics and health status. Understanding and adhering to this requirement is essential for contributing to the sustainable management of bear populations.
A. Requirement for Hunters
Collection and Submission of Teeth:
- In 2023, successful hunters are required to provide two upper premolar teeth from their harvested bear. These teeth are critical for aging the bear, which is an important aspect of wildlife management studies.
- Instructions for Collection: Hunters who draw Class A licenses will receive mailed instructions on how to collect the teeth. These instructions are also available online on the DNR website (search "bear registration").
Mailing Address for Submission:
- If a hunter does not have the DNR-provided materials for submission, they should write their name, customer ID number, and registration confirmation number on a piece of paper. They should then affix the teeth to it with tape, place it in an envelope, and mail it to the specified address (Bear Tooth, 107 Sutliff Ave, Rhinelander, WI 54501).
B. Hunter Notification Process
- Age Analysis Results: Hunters will be notified of the bear’s age after the samples are analyzed. This information not only contributes to the hunter's knowledge about their specific harvest but also aids in broader research and management efforts.
Bear Hunting Restrictions
Bear hunting, while a popular and regulated outdoor activity, is subject to certain restrictions designed to ensure ethical hunting practices and the protection of bear populations. These restrictions are critical for maintaining the balance of the ecosystem and for the ethical treatment of wildlife.
A. Prohibited Actions in Bear Hunting
Shooting or Molesting Bears in Dens:
- Hunters are strictly prohibited from shooting or disturbing bears that are in dens. This regulation is in place to protect bears during their vulnerable states, such as hibernation or when rearing young.
Hunting in Restricted Areas:
- Hunting bears in areas such as dumps or sanitary landfills is illegal. This rule is enforced to prevent bears from being attracted to and habituated by human waste, which can lead to problematic interactions between bears and humans.
Killing Cubs or Adult Bears with Cubs:
- It is unlawful to kill a bear cub or an adult bear accompanied by cubs. This regulation is crucial for the conservation of bear populations and ensures that the natural rearing process of bear cubs is not disrupted.
- Definition of an Adult Bear: For regulatory purposes, an adult bear is defined as any bear measuring 42 inches or greater in length from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail.
Dog Training and Use in Bear Hunting
The use of dogs in bear hunting is a traditional practice but comes with specific regulations designed to ensure the safety of the dogs, ethical hunting practices, and minimal disturbance to wildlife and ecosystems. These rules are important for maintaining a balance between effective hunting strategies and responsible wildlife management.
A. Training Periods and Locations
Statewide Training Period:
- Dogs may be trained by pursuing bear statewide on lands open to public hunting or on private lands with permission from July 1–August 31. This period is established to prepare dogs for the hunting season without unduly disturbing bear populations outside of appropriate times.
Training During Open Season:
- In Zones A, B, and D, it is legal to train dogs during the season when hunting bear with the aid of dogs is open. This allows for continuous training and acclimation of dogs to hunting conditions.
B. Legal Restrictions While Hunting with Dogs
Established Shooting Hours:
- Hunters are not permitted to hunt or train dogs to pursue bear before or after established shooting hours, with the exception of the July 1–August 31 training period. These restrictions are in place to ensure ethical hunting practices.
- Hunting bear with dogs is not allowed in Zones C, E, and F, respecting the different wildlife management strategies in these areas.
Identification and Ownership:
- Dogs used in bear hunting must either be tattooed or wear a collar displaying the owner’s name and address. This requirement is important for the identification and recovery of lost or stray hunting dogs.
Limit on Number of Dogs:
- No more than six dogs may be used to pursue bear in a single pack, regardless of the number of bear hunters or the ownership of the dogs. This limit is enforced to control the impact on bears and to reduce potential conflicts with other wildlife.
- Replacement of dogs that fall out of the chase is allowed, but the total number must not exceed six at any given time.
Bear Management Zones and Game Management Units
Bear Management Zones and Game Management Units (GMUs) are critical components of bear hunting regulations, designed to effectively manage and monitor bear populations across different geographical areas. Understanding these zones and units is essential for hunters to ensure compliance with specific regional regulations and conservation efforts.
A. Zone Identification for Registration
Importance of Zone and GMU Identification:
- When registering a harvested bear, hunters need to identify the specific Bear Management Zone and Game Management Unit where the bear was taken. This information is crucial for wildlife management authorities to track bear populations and hunting pressure in different areas.
Online Availability of Zone Maps:
- Detailed maps of Bear Management Zones and Game Management Units are available online. Hunters can visit the DNR website and search for “bear registration” to access these maps, which are instrumental in planning their hunt and ensuring they are hunting within the correct zones and units.
B. Role of Zones and GMUs in Bear Management
Management and Conservation Purposes:
- Bear Management Zones and GMUs are established based on bear habitat, population densities, and ecological considerations. They play a vital role in managing bear populations sustainably and in aligning hunting practices with conservation goals.
Regulation of Hunting Practices:
- Different zones and units may have specific regulations, including hunting season dates, permissible hunting methods, and baiting rules. These are tailored to address the unique ecological and wildlife management needs of each area.