Big Day For Bear Hunters

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 11:24am

More than 260 black bears harvested on first day of controversial New Jersey hunting season.

New Jersey wildlife officials say a total of 257 black bears were killed on the first day of the state's annual hunt.

State officials said the first bear killed was a 166-pound female shot in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area by an Arizona man.

he second was a 205-pound male shot in Warren County by two teenagers from Wayne, New Jersey.

"I called it out, I just said, 'Are you on him?' Said '3, 2, 1' then we shot on 'go' at the exact same time," said K.C. Abel, one of the teen hunters.

State officials say the hunt is needed to reduce the state's bruin population, now estimated at about 3,400.

Critics claim the hunt is cruel and the state's bear management policy is flawed.

After going to court Monday protesters were allowed the right to demonstrate at certain bear checkpoints during the hunt.

A ruling in state superior court said up to 25 people can demonstrate at the Franklin bear check station in Sussex County between noon and 4 p.m. each day.

A greater number will be allowed to demonstrate at two other weigh stations.

Critics of the hunt had been pushing for the Franklin station permit as it is a high-visibility site.

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