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New Jersey Black Bear Hunt To Begin On Monday

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- For the fourth year in a row, the New Jersey black bear hunt was set to get under way next week.

As WCBS 880's Levon Putney reported Saturday, the six-day hunt was set to get under way just before dawn Monday morning. It will take place in four designated areas, primarily in the northern and western part of the state.

New Jersey Black Bear Hunt To Begin On Monday

"It's part of a five-year plan we have that is aimed at reducing the number of black bears," said state Department of Environmental Protection Larry Ragonese.

Ragonese said numbers showed the hunt has cut the number of run-ins with humans -- "things like home break-ins, car/bear accidents."

But the hunt has drawn a fair number of critics.

"Black bear hunts do nothing to solve any perceived problems with nuisance complaints," said state animal activist Angie Metler.

She said she prefers only bear-proofing measures.

"Keep your trash in bear-resistant containers; maybe not have a bird feeder," Metler said.

She also advised cleaning the barbecue grill.

Ragonese said the Department of Environmental Protection teaches people in bear country to take all those measures, but the department also has to manage the population.

A total of 285 bears were killed during the six-day hunt last year – most of them in Sussex County, state officials said.
The hunt in 2011 yielded 469 kills, while the 2010 hunt ended with 592 bears killed.

The hunt always draws protesters opposed to the practice, with many complaining that the state is sponsoring what they call a recreational trophy hunt.

About 6,400 hunters participated in the 2012 hunt.

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