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NJ Bear Hunt Ends With Fewer Kills Than Previous Years

Bear hunters pose with a black bear that they killed at Waywayanda State Park. (file/credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Bear hunters pose with a black bear that they killed at Waywayanda State Park. (file/credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP)New Jersey’s third state-sanctioned bear hunt has come to an end, and authorities have announced this year’s hunt resulted in fewer kills than last year.

State environmental officials said 285 bears were killed during the six-day hunt that ended on Saturday.

Last year’s hunt yielded 469 kills, while the 2010 hunt ended with 592 bears killed.

Most of the bears in this year’s hunt were killed in Sussex County, according to state officials.

Preliminary data show 188 bears were killed in Sussex, 42 were harvested in Morris County, 32 were killed in Warren County and 23 in Passaic County.

The hunt aims to control the state’s black bear population, now estimated at about 2,900 in the hunting area, about 500 fewer than in 2010. It took place in an area north of Interstate 78 and west of Interstate 287.

About 6,400 hunters participated in this year’s hunt, which is about 1,000 less than in 2011.

Protesters said their larger point is that the state is sponsoring what they call a recreational trophy hunt.

But state officials said the hunt is allowed as a way to thin the bear population, which cannot be done by other means.

State officials said complaints have dropped along with bear-related incidents, and the hunt must continue for several years to control the bear population.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)