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As Hunters Ready To Curb Bear Population In NJ, Animal Activists Plan Rally

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Black bear (credit: CBS 2)

Black bear (credit: CBS 2)

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HIGHLAND LAKES, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A bear hunt kicks off Monday in parts of New Jersey after a court ruled against opponents’ pleas to stop the hunt from happening.

“Behind my house, I can see the hunters. I can hear them when they fire the shots. It’s very disturbing,” said Angie Metler, Executive Director for the Animal Protection League of New Jersey.

Metler is again vowing and fighting this year to stop the state’s controversial bear hunt.

“The hunt is nothing but a trophy hunt for hunters to bring home rugs, mounts and wall trophies,” she told CBS 2’s Ann Mercogliano.

State officials say the hunt is meant to help control a bear population that’s getting dangerously out of hand.

An appeals court ruled the hunt could happen this year, denying claims that the state’s policy was flawed. Opponents say an appeal to that decision is in the works.

Parts of Sussex, Warren, Morris, Passaic, Bergen, Somerset and Hunterdon Counties will be approved bear hunting grounds. Last year nearly 600 were killed during the hunt.

Hunter Fred Hasert of Barry Lakes told Mercogliano that he will join the hunt to protect his family.

“They’re in my backyard a lot, and I have a young daughter, always aware of her being out there with the bear,” he said.

Metler says the solution to controlling the black bear population in New Jersey lies in a bear-resistant garbage cans that, she says, every resident should have.

Hunting store owner Sig Borstad disagrees.

“If they can’t get figure out how to open them, they’ll jump up and down on them until they pop open,” the Sig Borstad Archery owner said.

Opponents also say a permit to protest was denied, but they still plan to hold a vigil in sight of hunters getting ready to enter the woods.

What do you think of the hunt? Sound off in our comments section below…

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