The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources wants to give hunters a chance to kill more black bears in the 2018 season.

Agency biologists will be taking a proposal to Regional Advisory Councils and ultimately the Utah Wildlife Board to increase the number of black bear permits from 758 to 860. The agency said a permit obviously doesn’t guarantee a successful hunt. Statistics show 365 bears were taken this year.

The justification?

The DWR says that bears are doing well. The agency said in a release that the number of bears has almost tripled in less than 20 years, from about 1,300 adult bears to an estimate of just under 3,500 adult bears in 2016. Officials say there are likely more adult bears in the state than the estimate indicates.

(Courtesy Utah Division of Wildlife Resources) Black bears are doing well in Utah.

“The state’s bear population has been growing steadily since 1998, especially in the southeastern part of the state,” said Darren DeBloois, game mammals coordinator for the DWR. “We’d like to give additional hunters a chance to hunt them.”

For more on the recommendations and dates of RAC meetings, which begin Dec. 5 in Springville, visit www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings.

The best way for the public to participate is to attend one of the five RAC meetings or to contact RAC members in your area.

To find that email, check www.wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/rac-members.html.