The N.J. bear hunt begins with bows, arrows and a protest

Monday, 09 October 2017, 07:43:47 PM. The controversial hunt has occurred every year under Gov. Chris Christie
FREDON -- N.J.'s annual bear hunt is underway in northern New Jersey, one year after a record 636 bears were killed. The hunt opened in eight counties a half-hour before dawn, under rules established by the state Department of Environmental Protection. It will conclude Saturday, with a second, six-day hunt starting Dec. 4. Protesters are planning to gather at 9 a.m. in a grassy area off Fredon Springdale Road, across the street from one of five check stations for hunters returning with dead bears. The first day of the hunt generally yields the highest results. Of the 636 bears killed last year, nearly a third -- 206 -- were on opening day. Through Wednesday, hunters are limited to archery, with muzzle-loading rifles also allowed starting Thursday. The hunt in December is limited to firearms. Opponents of the hunt charge that the population has been decimated by hunts held every year under Gov. Chris Christie, while the DEP estimates that up to 2,800 bears live in the area north of Route 78 and west of Route 287. Bears have been sighted in all 21 counties but their heaviest concentration is in northwest New Jersey. Reports of aggressive bear behavior, defined by actions such as attempted home entry or attacking livestock, were down 64 percent this year through Sept. 20, according to DEP. However, hunt supporters say safety concerns, including the fatal mauling in 2014 of a hiker in West Milford, continue to justify hunting. The hunt has become a point of contention in the race...Read more
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