The Utah Wildlife Board met on Tuesday and approved new rules that will affect the bear hunts in 2017. Primarily, the board is allowing more black bears to be taken during this year’s hunts. DWR Mammals Coordinator Darren DeBloois explained that the bear population is thriving in Utah. “The population trend is positive, meaning the state’s bear population is continuing to grow at a slow but a fairly steady pace,” says DeBloois. The increase in black bear population has resulted in an increase in conflicts with people, usually at campgrounds. It has also resulted in more incidents of bears killing livestock and damaging farmers’ crops. The board is hoping to lower conflicts by increasing permit numbers. Visit www.wildlife.utah.gov for more information.