Clear, cold weather and a light coating of snow made for good hunting conditions, and hunters had killed 54 bruins as of 2:30 p.m., state officials said. Monday`s tally will be updated today; hunters were allowed to pursue their quarry until a half-hour past sunset, or about 5 p.m. Some 4,434 hunters have bear permits this year, 1,200 fewer than for the previous hunt two years ago. Despite that, and despite animal-rights activists who fanned out in the forest in an effort to thwart the hunters, officials said the initial tally was nearly on pace with the 2003 season.
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