2 males are first killed in annual N.J. black bear hunt

    A 165-pound male was the first black bear to be killed as New Jersey’s six-day hunt got under way at sunrise Monday.

    Environmental Department officials report that a Boonton man killed the bear in Jefferson Township, Morris County, shortly after morning fog lifted.

    The second bear to be taken was a 124-pound male in Sparta, Sussex County.

    The hunt aims to control the state’s black bear population, now estimated at about 2,900.

    State environmental officials say New Jersey’s two-year-old black bear management program, which includes a hunt, trash management and education, has reduced the bear population and the number of bear-human interactions.

    The hunt runs until sunset Saturday, concurrent with the firearm deer hunting season.

    Hunting is allowed north of Interstate 78 and west of Interstate 287.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.