Applications for Minnesota bear hunting licenses will be available starting Monday.
The 3,750 licenses are available in 11 permit areas, down from the 6,000 available last year.
Fewer licenses are available because hunters killed many more bears last year than the Department of Natural Resources anticipated, said DNR large carnivore specialist Dan Stark.
"Primarily that's because of poor fall food conditions last year," Stark said. "It results in more bears being taken because there's probably more bears active at bait sites."
Hunters use bait to attract the animals. Stark said bears eat mainly acorns in the fall during the hunting season.
About 2,600 bears were harvested last year, out of a total population Stark estimates to be slightly below 15,000. He said fewer licenses this year will allow for a gradual increase in the bear population.
Last year about 20,000 hunters applied for licenses. Their success rate in killing a bear is typically around 25 percent, Stark said.