CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire hunters are being asked to refrain from killing bears wearing radio collars.

Though the killing of collared bears is legal, the state Fish and Game Department is asking hunters to avoid doing so as the bear hunting season gets underway Saturday.

Officials say there are only 10 collared bears out of an estimated 5,800 bears in the state, and they are part of a study on the population's reproductive success, habitat use and social behavior. Officials say the long-term survival of these bears is important to their understanding of the population.

Last year's bear season resulted in the taking of 587 bears, which was in keeping with the recent trend of hunters harvesting 10 to 12 percent of the estimated statewide bear population.