MADISON (AP) -- The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says the 2012 Wisconsin bear harvest was the second-highest on record.
Hunters registered 4,400 black bears during the 2012 season. That's second only to the 5,133 bears registered in 2010. Hunters killed 4,257 bears in Wisconsin last year.
DNR big-game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang says bears live primarily in the northern third and the central forest area of Wisconsin. But Wallenfang says in recent years, the animals have become more common in many central and southern counties.
Bear hunters have until midnight on Dec. 10 to apply for a harvest permit for the 2013 hunting season or preference point for future years. The number of permits available for the 2013 black bear hunt has not yet been determined.