NEWTON, N.J. (AP) – Dozens of animal rights activists gathered
in northwestern New Jersey on Saturday to express their anger as
the state’s six-day bear hunt came to an end.
No incidents or arrests were reported at the weigh station in
Newton, where hunters have been bringing their kills to have them
recorded by wildlife officials. About two dozen state park police
and state troopers were on scene Saturday to help maintain
The hunt, New Jersey’s first since 2005, is part of the state
Department of Environmental Protection’s bear management
Wildlife officials say the hunt was needed to reduce a black
bear population now thought to number about 3,400, but opponents
contend the policy was improperly developed.
Officials say about 500 bears had been taken through Friday.
Two animal rights groups – Animal Protection League and Bear
Education and Resource Group – tried unsuccessfully to stop the
hunt before it started.
But an appeals court refused to halt the hunt on Dec. 3, and the
following day a judge acting on a petition to the state Supreme
Court refused to grant an emergency stay. The lawsuit, which
challenges the state’s bear management policy as improper, is
A similar challenge succeeded in 2007 and no hunt was held. An
appeals panel found flaws with the management policy and ruled that
the 2005 hunt should not have taken place.
Some 6,680 bear hunting permits were issued for this year’s
hunt, with each hunter entitled to one bear regardless of age or
gender. The DEP has estimated that as many as 700 bears will be