Hunters are heading into the woods for New Jersey’s black bear hunt, which began at dawn Monday.
Environmental Protection Department officials say the six-day hunt is needed to reduce the state’s bruin population, now estimated at about 3,400.
But critics claim the state’s bear management policy is flawed and was developed arbitrarily. They went to court to block the hunt, but were rebuffed Thursday by a state appellate court. The groups will return to court Monday, hoping to win the right to demonstrate at the Franklin bear check station in Sussex County.
The DEP rejected their request late last week, citing public safety concerns. They proposed alternate protest sites, but the groups said those areas would provide them “much less visibility.”