New Jersey’s latest state-mandated bear hunt is set to kick off Monday.
State wildlife officials tout the annual hunt as an important part of their bear management plan, saying it’s needed to control the population and help protect the environment. But it continues to draw fire from animal activists and other critics who claim it’s inhumane and unnecessary.
The state recently expanded the areas where hunting will be allowed during the six-day event. It will be permitted this year in all or portions of Hunterdon, Passaic, Morris, Somerset, Sussex and Warren counties, and portions of Bergen and Mercer counties.
New Jersey resumed state-regulated bear hunting in 2003 after more than 30 years. Another hunt was held in 2005. In 2010, the state instituted an annual hunt for each December through this year.