NORTH CAROLINA -

The increase in North Carolina's black bear population in recent years has prompted wildlife officials to take another look at the rules on bear hunting.

The Daily Reflector of Greenville reported the Wildlife Resources Commission says the changes would stabilize the population.

The new rules will be voted on next month by 19 members appointed by state lawmakers.

Commission biologist Colleen Olfenbuttel says the two main changes would open the remaining counties in the Piedmont to bear hunting and would allow hunter who do not use dogs to set out unprocessed food to attract the animals.

Hunters could not kill bears while they are eating and the food would have to be on private property.

She says the agency wants to stabilize the population, not reduce it.