AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine woods will begin turning into a sugary wonderland on Saturday, which is both good and bad news for bears.

Maine hunters are allowed to lure bears with bait during the hunting season, and bait is usually sugary human food such as doughnuts. Saturday is the first day it’s legal to place bait this year.

Hunters aren’t allowed to actually hunt bears until Aug. 28. State rules let them hunt bears while using bait until Sept. 23. The hunting season at large lasts until Nov. 25.

There is also a season for hunting bears by pursuing them with dogs. That season lasts from Sept. 11 to Oct. 27.

Bear bait is the subject of criticism from animal welfare groups. State biologists say it’s needed to manage the bear population.

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