165 Bears Harvested in New Jersey Hunt

Hunt falls short of previous years season

Bear Hunting Magazine

Snowfall earlier this week has put a dent in New Jersey's black bear hunt, with total kills continuing to fall short of last year's season.

Hunters have killed 165 bears since Monday, 31 fewer than were killed by the annual hunt's third day in 2012, according to preliminary data from the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.

"The naive ones got taken in the first hunts," Larry Herrighty, assistant director of the state’s Division of Fish and Wildlife told the Star-Ledger earlier this month. "They’re getting smarter. We still have a robust population."

Most of the bears brought in during the past three days have come from Sussex County, with a total of 100 kills from that county. Warren County has had the second most kills, at 30, followed by Morris with 19 and Passaic with 16, data shows.

The six-day season got off to its slow start on Monday, when 92 bears were killed. That's below the 120 bears killed on the hunt's first day last year.

State officials have attributed the decline to wet winter weather, and the 1,000 fewer hunters in the woods of Sussex, Passaic, Warren and Morris counties this year.

During the course of the last three hunts, the bear population has been thinned by nearly 1,000. Officials expect 240 bruins to be killed during this year's hunting season.

Animal-rights advocates have protested the hunt over the years, arguing that stricter management of trash and food sources could curb the bruin population.

By By Naomi Nix/The Star-Ledger at NJ.com

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