AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Legislators might consider changes to Maine's bear hunt in the coming year as the state grapples with a growing population of the animals.

Maine has more than 35,000 bears, an increase of more than 12,000 from the mid-2000s. Republican Sen. Paul Davis, of Piscataquis County, is submitting a bill that would give the state wildlife commissioner the ability to adjust the rules governing the state's bear hunting season and bag limits.

Republican Rep. Peter Lyford, of Eddington, is also considering submitting a bill that would create a spring bear hunting season. The current bear hunt takes place in the late summer and fall.

Attempts to tweak the bear hunt would generate considerable attention from hunters and animal welfare activists. A referendum to restrict the bear hunt in 2014 failed.

More From