Bear hunters in Minnesota had killed 3,065 bears as of Monday this week, the most since 3,172 in 2007, and there's still more than a week left in the season.

The harvest already is up 32% over the total from 2019.

It’s not necessarily that there are more bears, just that the wild food crop in the woods was poor this year due to drought across much of the black bear range in northern Minnesota. With less food in the woods, bears are more likely to hit hunter bait stations.

Dan Stark, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources large carnivore specialist, said this year’s harvest could top 2007 by the time the season ends Oct. 18. This year’s total will be way up from the last seven years, when harvests ranged from a low of 1,672 in 2014 to a previous high of 2,633 in 2016.

Bear activity will gradually diminish in coming weeks as the animals run out of quality food and begin their winter hibernation.