CLEMSON, S.C. — South Carolina wildlife officials are keeping an eye on the number of bears killed outside the hunting season as the state’s bear population grows and habitat encroachment increases.

The Sun News reports that wildlife experts with the state Department of Natural Resources and Clemson University say South Carolina recorded its second-highest harvest during this year’s mountain bear-hunting season, with 108 bears harvested.

Officials say harvest numbers are commensurate with the rising population, but are concerned with the number of bears killed in encounters on South Carolina roads and the potential impact.

The department says more than 30 bears have been killed along Upstate roads in 2017.

Clemson University assistant professor Shari Rodriguez says bears are a needed species and the population will thus receive close monitoring.

Information from: The Sun News,