Bear hunt lottery applications available

Total number of permits has increased this year. Deadline is Friday, May 5.

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Prospective Minnesota black bear hunters have until Friday, May 5, to apply for a bear hunting license from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Applications for the 2023 season can be submitted online, at any license agent or by telephone at 888-665-4236.

A total of 4,035 licenses are available in 14 permit areas for the season, which opens Friday, Sept. 1, and closes Sunday, Oct. 15.

The number of permits available each year in the quota zone is based on Minnesota’s bear population, which has stabilized and started to increase during the past 10 years, in part because of recent conservative permit quotas. Populations in most bear permit areas are stable to increasing, and the total number of permits has increased by 430 from last season. The exceptions are in several permit areas in northern Minnesota, which will see permit reductions in efforts to stabilize populations in those areas.


Lottery winners will be notified by Thursday, June 1. The deadline to purchase bear hunting licenses awarded by lottery is Tuesday, Aug. 1. Any remaining unpurchased licenses will be available over the counter starting at noon Friday, 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 for any opportunities that may arise.

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 (


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