Wisconsin wildlife experts recommend nearly 7,000 permits be issued next year to hunt black bears.
The Department of Natural Resources says that would be about 2,300 more than this year and in line with a new study that estimates 26,000 bears roam the state. That's at least twice as many as previously thought.
The deadline to apply for a 2009 bear hunting permit is Dec. 10. The Natural Resources Board will decide in January how many bear hunting permits to issue.
DNR bear expert Keith Warnke says 35,500 hunters applied for the 4,660 permits for this season. Hunters killed about 2,900 bears, roughly the same as a year ago.
The 2009 bear hunt will run Sept. 9 through Oct. 13.