Hunters in Maine harvested 2,845 bears in 2013. Officials with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife say that's about 26 percent of the more than 10,888 bear-hunting permits issued for the season. More than 90 percent of the bears killed were taken using bait, dogs or traps, officials say.
But it was a good year for the natural foods bears rely on. The department's annual winter bear den survey found that the average weight of year-old bears was 46.6 pounds, compared with 2012, when the average weight for yearlings was 32.5 pounds.
An abundance of natural foods last year also kept bears out later in the season, resulting in 81 bears being taken by deer hunters. In addition, 2,048 bears were harvested using bait, 479 were taken with dogs, and 105 bears were killed using traps.
Maine's bear population is estimated at about 30,000. Despite the state's long bear-hunting season in the fall, the harvest has been below objectives since 2005, officials say.