MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The state Natural Resources Board is set to consider reducing the number of bears hunters can kill this year.

The Department of Natural Resources has proposed setting this year's harvest target at 4,600, down from 5,235 in 2011. The new goal would translate to fewer permits in three of the state's four bear hunting zones.

DNR officials say they want to make the move because the bear population appears to have stopped growing or may be declining after several years or higher harvest goals. DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang says the agency wants to tread cautiously until it receives findings from a 2011 population study late this year.

The board is scheduled to take up the DNR's plan at a meeting in Madison on Wednesday.