AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine hunting guides are telling state game officials that 2012 will go down in the record books as one of the best years ever to hunt bears in the state.

Guides are seeing record bear numbers as well as record-sized bear, including the new state record of 699 pounds this season. Many others are in the 600 and 500 pound weight classes.

State officials say Maine hasn’t had a bear hunting season like this since 1993, when the previous record 680-pound bear was taken.

This season’s record 699 pounder was claimed by Matt Knox of Waynesboro, Pa., who says he was stunned by the bear’s size.

Bears can be hunted with dogs until Oct. 26, and can be trapped until Oct. 31.