Annual black bear hunt gets underway for archers in New Jersey

NEWTON, New Jersey (WABC) -- New Jersey's controversial annual black bear hunt is underway Monday.

The six-day event is meant to keep the bear population in check and reduce the number of bear encounters with humans.

However, many critics claim the population is stable.

The first three days of the hunt are for hunters armed with longbows, compound bows and crossbows only.

Muzzle-loading rifle hunters can participate on Thursday and Friday.

The hunt is restricted to five zones, all in the northwestern part of the state. Governor Phil Murphy has again prohibited hunting on state lands.

Participants will need a hunting license and a bear-hunt permit for the zone in which they are hunting.

A bear hunt for firearms only is set to begin on December 9.

Hunters killed 225 bears in 2018, the lowest amount since 2003.

Last year, Murphy announced new restrictions on the event -- and there are even more restrictions this year.

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