AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — It’s still steamy and summery in Maine, but one of the signs of the fall hunting seasons has arrived, as it’s now legal to lay bait for bears.

Maine hunting regulators allow hunters to place bait for bruins starting Saturday. The season in which it’s legal to hunt bears over bait lasts from Aug. 26 to Sept. 21. That’s when most of the bear hunt takes place, though the rest of the season continues until the end of November.

Bear bait is usually human food such as granola and trail mixes. The practice of luring bears with bait is controversial, and has been criticized by animal welfare groups over the years. The state has defended the practice as important to limit the spread of Maine’s large and growing bear population.

Related stories:
– Two young grizzly bears euthanized after property damage
– Polar bears floated 434 miles away from home because there was not enough ice
– Man charged after allegedly killing polar bear