TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey’s six-day bear hunting season is starting Monday.

State Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna said the hunt has been a proven effective tool in other states in curbing the black bear population.

Participants will have more areas to hunt this year.

“We also realized after evaluating the science and the previous five years of hunting statistics, that we needed to do an expansion,” Hajna said.

Chunks of Bloomingdale and Wayne, all of Butler and Pequannock are now included.

“Unless we work to manage the bear population it’s going to continue to stay the same or even increase,” Hajna said. “Hunting is an effective and important management tool.”

Angie Metler with the state’s Animal Protection League said it’s “a highly controversial hunt that is not supported by science, it’s only supported by hunters.”

She believes instead of killing the bruins, legislation should be passed requiring bear-proofing homes and properties to keep garbage and bird seeds from attracting hungry bears.

“Most of my neighbors who live in bear country, who love the bears, live responsibly among them,” Metler said. “The hunt is just a trophy hunt, they don’t know how many bears are in New Jersey.”

Hajna said the department also supports bear-proofing.

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