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6-Day Firearm-Only Bear Hunt Begins In New Jersey

NEWTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Hunters are heading out across parts of New Jersey for the second half of this year's bear hunt.

The firearm-only hunt started Monday morning and is scheduled to last through Saturday, but could end early depending on how many bears are culled.

Hunters killed 549 bears during October's six-day hunt, which was limited to bows and arrows and muzzle-loading guns.

New Jersey approved resuming the bear hunt in 2003 after more than 30 years as a way to curb a growing population that was increasingly crossing paths with humans.

Animal rights' groups and lawmakers said the hunt causes more problems and is "inhumane.''

Opponents are rallying behind the apparent death of Pedals, a bipedal bear and internet celebrity believed to be killed in October's hunt.

"This is nothing more than a slaughter, an unnecessary slaughter, of a beautiful animal," Sen. Ray Lesniak, who sponsored Pedals' Law which would ban bear hunts altogether in the Garden State. The law would also call for non-lethal means to control the population, including birth control and distribution of bear-resistant containers.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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