Bear Hunting: New Jersey's High Black-Bear Population in Open Season
This week is hunting season for bears in New Jersey, which has 3,500 bears in its northwest quadrant alone, say state wildlife officials. There are now confirmed bear sightings in all 21 of the state's counties. At the same time, New Jersey is the most densely human-populated state in the nation.
The state resumed bear hunting in 2003, after more than 30 years away from it. On the first day of the current week-long season, December 7, hunters killed 216 bears. That's more than those taken on the 2014 first day of hunting, which was 120. The total for this week last year was 272 of the wild animals, according to a Newsweek article.
"We have the densest black bear population in the nation and we also have the most dense human populated state in the nation," Carole Stamko, of the Bureau of Wildlife Management, said to WABC TV. "So when you have those two, it's a perfect recipe for a human bear conflict, and we're trying to reduce that as much as we can."
While about 8,200 bear hunting permits have been sold, only a much smaller number of bears will be allowed to be shot. The hunting is first-come, first-served.
Here are some other facts about black bears in New Jersey, from Rutgers University.
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