TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Weather appears to favor the bears in New Jersey’s black bear hunt.
The number of kills dropped sharply in the rain with hunters bagging 52 bruins on Tuesday. That’s down from 257 on the first day of the hunt Monday.
Hunters are facing more rain and the chance for snow Wednesday.
Meanwhile, animal activists have asked the state Supreme Court to overturn a lower court ruling that restricts the number of protesters allowed at the Franklin bear check station in Sussex County. The state says the limit is needed for the protesters’ safety.
Activists are being allowed to protest at certain bear check stations during the six-day hunt. A ruling in state superior court ruled Monday says up to 25 people can demonstrate at the Franklin bear check station in Sussex County between noon and 4 p.m. each day.
One protester crossed permit boundaries and was arrested at the weigh station in Franklin. Despite the protests, hunters dismissed the criticism.
“These people are out of touch, there’s too many bears in this area,” hunter Bruce Levendusky told CBS 2′s Christine Sloan.
A greater number were being allowed to demonstrate at two other weigh stations. Critics of the hunt had been pushing for the Franklin station permit as it is a high-visibility site.
Environmental Protection Department officials felt it was too a dangerous a spot for a large gathering.
A hunter brought the first bear into the Franklin Borough weigh station about 9:30 a.m., as well as a cub weighing 78 pounds on Monday, 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reported.
“The hunt is nothing but a trophy hunt for hunters to bring home rugs, mounts and wall trophies. That’s the only thing this hunt is,” said Angie Metler of the Animal Protection League of New Jersey.
“They’re in my backyard a lot, and I have a young daughter, always aware of her being out there with the bear,” said hunter Fred Hasert.
Nearly 600 bears were killed in last year’s hunt.
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