It’s not a good day to be a bear.
Officials say 40 black bears have been killed in the first five hours of New Jersey’s first bear hunt since 2005. Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Ragonese says hunters took a mix of males, females and cubs weighing between 140 and 360 pounds.
The six-day hunt got under way before sunrise. Wildlife officials say the hunt is needed to reduce a black bear population now thought to number about 3,400.
Also Monday, a Superior Court judge kept in place a limit on the number of hunt protesters at two wildlife areas in northwestern New Jersey.
The DEP set a limit of 25 protesters at the Pequest Wildlife Management Area in Warren County and Whittingham Wildlife Management Area in Sussex County. Judge Stephen Skillman agreed.