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2013 New Hampshire bear harvest back down to average

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire hunters bagged 569 bears last year, a number wildlife experts say is close to ideal.

The total count for the year was down from 808 in 2012, when natural food sources such as beech nuts and acorns were scarce and many bears ended up in towns and cornfields. Officials told the Valley News that bears didn't take as many risks in 2013 because food was more plentiful.

Andrew Timmins of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department says ideally, hunters would take about 600 bears a year. He says the population can't consistently take losing 800 a season.

The biggest male bear shot in 2013 weighed 437 pounds. The biggest female weighed 305 pounds.

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Information from: Lebanon Valley News, www.vnews.com

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