Deadline for bear hunting license applications in Minnesota is May 6

Prospective bear hunters have until Friday, May 6, to apply for a bear hunting license from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Applications for the 2022 season can be submitted online, at any license agent or via telephone at 888-665-4236.

A total of 3,605 licenses are available in 14 permit areas for the season, which opens Thursday, Sept. 1, and closes Sunday, Oct. 16.

The number of permits available is based on Minnesota’s bear population, which has stabilized and started to increase during the past nine years because of more conservative permit quotas. Populations in nearly all bear permit areas are stable to increasing. Several permit areas in northern Minnesota require additional permit reductions to stabilize their populations.

Notable changes for the 2022 season

After conversations with the Red Lake Nation, DNR split Minnesota’s Northwest Angle off into its own bear permit area, creating permit area 14. Bear hunting has occurred in the Northwest Angle for decades but the area was part of permit area 12, which is directly to the south.

Differing landscape, population dynamics, vegetation and food resources, as well as concerns about increased bear and human interactions, prompted the split. The new permit area provides the DNR greater flexibility to develop hunting strategies specific to the Northwest Angle’s bear population and control hunting pressure in response to the local bear population.

For 2022, DNR is offering a small number of hunting permits in the Northwest Angle, reflecting a status-quo level of harvest for the first year of this new area.

The DNR also has modified the boundaries of permit areas 28 and 47 to follow the Leech Lake Reservation boundary. This change is consistent with adjustments made to deer permit area 197 in 2021.

Lottery winners will be notified by Wednesday, June 1. The deadline to purchase bear hunting licenses awarded by lottery is Monday, Aug. 1. Any remaining unpurchased licenses will be available over the counter starting at noon Thursday, Aug. 4.

An unlimited number of bear licenses also will be sold over the counter for the no-quota area that includes east-central and far northwestern Minnesota. No-quota licenses are valid only in the no-quota area.

Hunters with either a quota or no-quota license who are interested in taking a problem bear should contact the area DNR wildlife manager to be added to the hunter contact list if the opportunity arises.

Complete instructions about how to apply for a license, maps of permit areas and a listing of permit availability for each area are available on the DNR website.