The Utah Wildlife Board will vote Thursday on a controversial proposal to increase the number of cougar hunting permits.

The Division of Wildlife Resources is proposing that the number of cougar permits increase from 531 to 565, a recommendation expected to please hunters but upset those who contend the state is already allowing too many of the big cats to be killed.

Figures show that the 531 permits issued for the last hunt resulted in about 400 cougars being killed.

Hunters not only like to hunt cougars but many feel as though the big cats kill too many mule deer, thus reducing populations.

The meeting, open to the public, is at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Department of Natural Resources Auditorium in Salt Lake City.

Other meeting agenda items include hunter education rules, furbearer and bobcat harvest recommendations, a beaver management plan, an audit of the Wildlife Expo hunting permit program and a vote on the allocation of valuable big-game permits to the Wildlife Hunting Expo to raise money for sponsors and conservation programs.

Those who can’t attend the meeting can watch it live at .