Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Always Controversial Bear Hunting Season Open

The 2015 bear hunting season opened Monday in New Jersey and approximately 8,200 bear permits were issued on the first day of the hunt, up from last year.

The vast majority of permit holders will not take down a bear, but on day one of the six day hunt 216 bears were killed. Clear and warmer weather has kept the bears active and visible and is likely to increase numbers.

Protesters gathered at many of the Department of Environmental Protection checkpoints to express their disapproval of the hunt.

Wildlife officials say that the hunt is necessary because the bear population is too high and the animals have become too accustomed to humans.

"We have some of the most dense population of black bears in the country,” says Carole Stanko, with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. “We are also the most densely populated state so that leads to a lot of bear-human contacts."

The DEP hopes the hunt will bring the bear population down by 20 percent. The agency also has the authority to extend the hunt if the goal is not met.

In order of the number of bears taken, Sussex County was the highest so far followed by Warren, Morris, Passaic, Hunterdon, Bergen, Somerset and Mercer.

Black bears have been sighted in all of NJ's 21 counties.


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