HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — Maryland’s black bear hunting season is opening with an expanded kill quota and more hunters to help manage the growing population.

The season opens Monday, with hunting restricted to the two westernmost counties, Allegany and Garrett.

The season will end Saturday or sooner, depending on how quickly hunters reach the Department of Natural Resources’ quota of 80 to 110 bears.  Last year, the agency let hunters to kill 65 bears.

A recent population study indicates the bear population in the hunt zone has more than doubled since 2005.

Besides raising the quota, the DNR awarded about 30 percent more hunting permits this year. That means about 1,000 hunters can seek trophies this season, up from about 780 last year.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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