LANSING (AP) — Bear hunting season is getting under way in Michigan.

Opening dates and hunting periods depend on location. The season began Monday in the Upper Peninsula. It starts Thursday in some parts of the Lower Peninsula and Sunday in others.

Officials say 7,140 licenses were available this year.

Over half of Michigan is open to regulated bear hunting. Officials say scientific indicators and public input help determine how many bears can be killed.

Wildlife management specialist Kevin Swanson of the state Department of Natural Resources says hunting is an important part of making sure Michigan has a healthy bear population with suitable habitat.

The state’s black bear population is estimated at 14,000 adults, including nearly 11,000 in the Upper Peninsula and nearly 3,000 in the northern Lower Peninsula.

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