Wisconsin bear sightings on the rise - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wisconsin bear sightings on the rise

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

Bears are being spotted more often in Central and Southern Wisconsin according to Kevin Wallenfang, staff specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. 

"Usually they follow the Wisconsin River corridor down" Wallenfang told Newsline 9. 

According to the Wisconsin DNR bear distribution is considered abundant in the Northwoods, common or occasional in the central parts of the state, and rare in southeast Wisconsin.  But sightings are on the rise in the more populated regions of the state.

DNR population estimates suggest around 25,000 bears roam the state, up from the 15,000 Wallenfang says the department estimates roamed in the late 1990s.

"What we're trying to do now is stabilize the bear population.  We don't want it to grow anymore, but we don't want to knock it back" Wallenfang said. 

The state plans to issue 9,015 bear hunting permits this year with the project harvested of 4,600 bears, up slightly from last year.  The permits come in high demand though.  104,000 applicants are vying for permits in 2012.   

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