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MADISON — The 2015-17 Wisconsin state budget bill has passed as 2015 Wisconsin Act 55, and state law was changed to eliminate the Class B bear license and increase the Class A license application fee to $4.50.
The 2015 Bear Hunting Regulations pamphlet was completed in advance of the proposed law, and will not reflect these Class B changes. Online regulations have been updated, and individuals are encouraged to use the online regulations pages or contact DNR staff with any questions.
Both residents and non-residents may now participate in the following bear baiting, hunting and training activities without a Class B bear license if those activities are permitted and in compliance with applicable regulations:
• bait bears for hunting purposes (recreationally feeding bears remains illegal);
• train dogs to track bears;
• act as a back-up shooter; and
• assist hunters with pursuing bears, provided that a person does not shoot, shoot at, capture, take, or kill the bear (unless acting as a back-up shooter).
It is important to note that a back-up shooter must adhere by the following guidelines:
• may only shoot for the purpose of killing a bear that was shot, but not killed, by a Class A bear license holder (if the person shooting the bear was hunting in the same party as the Class A hunter at the point of kill);
• may only shoot if the Class A bear license holder possesses an unused bear carcass tag that is authorized for use on the bear killed; and
• may only shoot if killing the bear is necessary to protect the safety of the members of the hunting party or others.
The Class B bear license was required for a portion of the 2015 bear baiting and dog training season, and those who have purchased a license had an opportunity to use it this year. Therefore, no refunds will be issued for Class B licenses purchased for the 2015 bear baiting and dog training seasons.
For more information regarding bear hunting in Wisconsin, visit the department’s website, dnr.wi.gov, and search keyword “bear.”