Black bears emerge from winter slumber, begin food search

DEP Photo: Bear in skunk cabbage, a leafy plant that grows along edges of rivers and streams. 

Hunters in Pennsylvania have set a new record this bear hunting season.

The number of bears killed so far this season is 4,577, the Pennsylvania Game Commission said in a news release. Bear hunting remains open through Saturday in some of the state's Wildlife Management Units.

The previous record was set in 2011 when hunters killed 4,350 bears, the game commission said.

Expanded hunting opportunities and an expanded bear archery season may have helped increase the number of bears hunters took this season, the game commission said.

"Our goal was to offer more hunting opportunities and prevent Pennsylvania's bear population from increasing," said Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans.