AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine bear hunters are having a fairly productive year, but the population of the big animals keeps growing in the state.
The Pine Tree State is home to about 36,000 black bears, which is an increase of more than 50 percent since 2004. Maine hunters typically harvest about 3,000 bears per season.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife says hunters had taken 2,826 as of Sept. 17. Most bear hunting takes place during the period in which hunting with bait is legal, which ended on Sept. 22.
The wildlife department touts hunting as a way of controlling the bear population. It campaigned against an attempt to ban hunting methods such as the use of bait and dogs in 2014. The referendum to restrict bear hunting failed at the polls.