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Area bear hunters experiencing successful season

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outdoors Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
(218) 333-9819 customer support
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

The bear harvest in the Bemidji area was down 65 percent after four days from a year ago but saw only a 30 percent drop after nine days.

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The harvest seems to follow an every-other-year cycle in the Bemidji and Park Rapids areas, according to DNR officials, and this was the year the harvest was expected to decline.

"In the Park Rapids area we notice ups and downs every other year with the bear harvest," said Greg Henderson, a DNR wildlife technician in Park Rapids. "Last year was an up year."

Although there was a decline in the Park Rapids bear kill compared to 2009, hunters are having success.

"Things are going quite well in terms of overall harvest in our area," Henderson said. "Hunters are sticking with it this year and more bears are being harvested later in the season (than is typical)."

Bemidji Area Wildlife Supervisor Shelley Gorham has noticed a similar trend.

"After four days of the season hunters had shot 55 bears and we were down 65 percent from last year," Gorham said.

"But after nine days hunters killed 156 bears and we were only down 30 percent from last year."

In 2008, the previous down year, hunters harvested 76 bears after four days and 120 after nine days.

In a typical year the majority of the kill will occur during the first four days. But that does not appear to be the case this year.

"It could be a function of when people registered their bears," Gorham said, referring to the 101 bears that were registered between the fifth and ninth days of the season.

"It could be weather related or perhaps the wild foods petered out," she said.

"September also started in the middle of the week and maybe hunters waited until the weekend to go out," she added.

In the Park Rapids area bears probably were extending themselves to find wild food during early September.

"Many of the acorns that fell were green and did not have much sustenance," Henderson said. "Some of our berries had a short season.

"It seems that there wasn't a lot of available food this year and bears had to cover territory to find (reliable) sources."

Bemidji Area Bear Kill

After 4 days After 9 days

2010 55 156

2009 159 223

2008 76 120

Y pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

The bear harvest in the Bemidji area was down 65 percent after four days from a year ago but saw only a 30 percent drop after nine days.

The harvest seems to follow an every-other-year cycle in the Bemidji and Park Rapids areas, according to DNR officials, and this was the year the harvest was expected to decline.

"In the Park Rapids area we notice ups and downs every other year with the bear harvest," said Greg Henderson, a DNR wildlife technician in Park Rapids. "Last year was an up year."

Although there was a decline in the Park Rapids bear kill compared to 2009, hunters are having success.

"Things are going quite well in terms of overall harvest in our area," Henderson said. "Hunters are sticking with it this year and more bears are being harvested later in the season (than is typical)."

Bemidji Area Wildlife Supervisor Shelley Gorham has noticed a similar trend.

"After four days of the season hunters had shot 55 bears and we were down 65 percent from last year," Gorham said.

"But after nine days hunters killed 156 bears and we were only down 30 percent from last year."

In 2008, the previous down year, hunters harvested 76 bears after four days and 120 after nine days.

In a typical year the majority of the kill will occur during the first four days. But that does not appear to be the case this year.

"It could be a function of when people registered their bears," Gorham said, referring to the 101 bears that were registered between the fifth and ninth days of the season.

"It could be weather related or perhaps the wild foods petered out," she said.

"September also started in the middle of the week and maybe hunters waited until the weekend to go out," she added.

In the Park Rapids area bears probably were extending themselves to find wild food during early September.

"Many of the acorns that fell were green and did not have much sustenance," Henderson said. "Some of our berries had a short season.

"It seems that there wasn't a lot of available food this year and bears had to cover territory to find (reliable) sources."

Bemidji Area Bear Kill

After 4 days After 9 days

2010 55 156

2009 159 223

2008 76 120

pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

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Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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