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SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. -- A state-authorized hunt for five bears has ended without any of the animals being shot.

The state Game and Fish Department said it approved the hunt in September after a number of close encounters between bears and people in Sierra Vista and the Huachuca Mountains. Residents had reported 12 bear sightings in a 72-hour period.

The Arizona Daily Star reported that five archery hunters had been authorized to kill one bear each but were unsuccessful.

Game and Fish spokesman Mark Hart said the bears are assumed to be hibernating for the winter.

He said game officials might be in the same situation next spring when bears emerge from their dens hungry and forage in residential areas.

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Information from: Arizona Daily Star, http://www.azstarnet.com

Associated Press,

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