New Jersey black bear hunt set for Monday

December 9, 2013 5:47:50 AM PST
New Jersey's black bear hunting season began just before dawn on Monday.

The six-day hunt will take place in four designated areas in parts of Sussex, Warren, Morris, Passaic Bergen, Somerset and Hunterdon counties.

Hunters, who must have permits, are limited to only one bear for the season.

This year's hunt is the fourth consecutive state-sanctioned one. It is part of a plan to control the state's black bear population, which grew to about 3,000 in the hunting area in 2012.

Last year, 6,400 hunters participated and 287 bears killed. Most were in Sussex County. That total was down from 2010 and 2011, when the kills totaled over 400.

Hunters who bag bears must take them to designated stations where biological data on the bears are recorded.

Fewer people have been issued permits for this year's hunt.

State fish and wildlife officials say 6,445 bear permits out of a maximum of 10,000 permits have been issued this year. That's a decrease from the 6,700 permits issued last year.

Animal rights groups are planning to protest Monday.