WAITSFIELD, Vt. — The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board is holding two public hearings next month on a proposal to extend the annual bear hunting season by four days.

Biologists with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department have recommended lengthening the season to stabilize the growing bear population and create more bear hunting opportunities.

The proposal would also create a new black bear tag for hunters who want to pursue bear before the November deer rifle season.

The changes would take effect in 2013.

The public hearings will take place on May 22, at the Kehoe Conservation Camp in Castleton and the following evening at Lyndon State College. Both hearings will be held from 7-8:30 p.m.