New Jersey’s yearly black bear got under way at sunrise.
The six-day 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 the hunt, trash management and education, has reduced the bear population and the number of bear-human interactions.
The number of bears has been reduced by about 500. Sightings are down by one-third and dangerous bear-related incidents are down 43 percent.
More than 6,500 bear hunting permits have been issued. Biologists predict hunt results similar to last year, when more than 9,000 permits were issued and 469 bears were harvested.
Hunting is allowed north of Interstate 78 and west of Interstate 287.