The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has announced they are now accepting lottery applications for the upcoming bear hunting season, so all interested hunters need to get their application before the deadline.

For the 2023 season, a total of 4,035 licenses are available in 14 permit areas, which opens Friday, September 1, and closes Sunday, October 15.

The DNR notes 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.  They add that populations in most bear permit areas are stable or are 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.

Prospective 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 calling 888-665-4236.

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

Hunters should keep in mind that 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. It's important to remember that no-quota licenses are valid only in the no-quota area.

The DNR adds that 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.

The Minnesota DNR Bear Hunting Information Page is a great resource, offering instructions about how to apply for a license, maps of permit areas, and a listing of permits available for each area.

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