Wisconsin Bowhunter Ties Black Bear State Record

Black bear hunting in Wisconsin
Bill Foster

Looks like we have a new holder of a black bear state record in the state of Wisconsin… well, I guess they’ll be sharing it.

Back in September of last year, Wisconsin resident Bill Foster took down a MASSIVE black bear with his bow.

And now, he shares the Wisconsin state record for a black bear with a bow, and also the number four all-time black bear in the Pope & Young record books, according to Outdoor Life.

A group of local scorers for the Wisconsin Buck and Bear Club initially weighed the bears skull in November, and it was earned a score of 22 11/16 inches, which matched the current state record for a bow-killed black bear.

The original state record has stood since 2003, when Duane Helland bagged a black bear of the same size in Chippewa, County.

Foster shared in a Facebook post:

“Got some exciting news over the last few days. It took what seems like forever, but it’s finally official! My bear was scored last November by a panel here in Wisconsin tying the state record bow kill at 22 11/16”.

Because this made it a top five all time animal with Pope & Young I had to send it out to them in January to get panel scored AGAIN in February, and is currently in Reno for the P&Y convention.

They have confirmed the score, and I can officially say I have a trophy that sits at #4 all time in the Pope & Young record books.

It’s also the largest black bear at the convention and the largest taken since I believe 2015. Thanks again to Bradley Brown for running baits all summer! It’s not a easy thing to do and it takes a lot of time.”

Foster harvested the bear back in September of last year in Burnett County, the northwest corner of the state.

He told the outlet:

“I had a trail camera out over a bait pile, which is legal in Wisconsin, and first got pictures of him on Sept. 6. A visiting friend of mine, Scottie Layman from Tennessee, sat in that stand on opening evening, and he shot a 250-pound bear that may be large enough for Pope & Young.

I spotted the bear beyond my bait pile, and he was nervous because he was coming in downwind. I knew I had to take the first good shot I had because I sensed he was going to wind me and spook. He offered a perfect shot at 28 yards, and I took it.”

A lot of people don’t generally think bears when they think of Wisconsin, but the state actually has one of the largest black bear populations in the country, especially in the northern half of the state. In 2021, 11,530 tags were available and hunters wound up harvesting 3,847 bears… and with that kind of thriving population, many of them can get pretty large.

The state also has a number of black bear hunting guides, and they are relatively affordable compared to some of the other states in the country.

Needless to say, this is one Foster will never forget.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock