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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - The results of a Maine bear den survey suggests the state's bears have benefited from an abundance of natural food resources.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife's winter bear den survey found the average weight of year-old bears is 46.6 pounds. The previous year's average was 32.5 pounds. The department says the weight gain is attributed to the greater availability of bears' natural foods.

The department says the abundance of natural food meant bears entered dens later. That resulted in more hunting opportunities for the state's bear hunters late in the season. Twelve percent of bears were taken in October and November.

This year's bear hunt is scheduled to run from Aug. 25 to Nov. 29. Hunters harvested 2,845 bears last year.

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