TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Hunters killed 267 bears during New Jersey’s annual black bear hunt this year, an increase of 16 from last year.
The six-day hunt concluded on Saturday.READ MORE: COVID Restrictions Lifted: Yankee Stadium Returning To Full Capacity
The state Division of Fish & Wildlife’s website showed that more than half of the bears were shot in Sussex County, where hunters harvested 146 bruins. Fifty-eight were killed in Warren County, while 29 were killed in Morris County and 27 in Passaic County.
State officials say the hunt is necessary to reduce the bear population in northern New Jersey, which supporters say will lead to fewer encounters with people and lessen the chance of an attack like the one that killed a Rutgers student in September. But critics say those goals can be attained through nonlethal methods.
“Enough is enough,” Edita Birnkrant, campaign director for New York-based Friends of Animals, told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney earlier this month. “It’s their planet, too. We cannot go on living as if human beings are the only species on Earth that matters and for bears that dare to live in bear country they all should be slaughtered. That’s an insane attitude.”READ MORE: Fourth Stimulus Check: Is Another Relief Payment Coming Soon?
The overall number of bears in the northern portion of the state is estimated to has dropped by more than a quarter since the hunt began. But reports of aggressive bears have risen this year.
In September, 22-year-old hiker Darsh Patel was mauled to death by a bear in West Milford.
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