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NJ bear hunt set for December

By Meghan Packer, Reporter, MPacker@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 18 2013 09:04:33 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 19 2013 04:32:16 AM CST

Hunters in New Jersey are preparing to take on black bears.

Hunters in New Jersey are preparing to take on black bears. New Jersey will allow bear hunting from December 9-14 in certain parts of the state.

The state says the hunting is to control the bear population, but some people think there are other ways to manage the animals.

"The population is growing to the point where it's causing problems," said Larry Herrighty, the assistant director of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. "We're looking to manage the population. We have a population that was as low as 50 animals in the 1970s."

Hunters with the proper permits and licenses can hunt for those six days in certain zones that are north of Route 78 and west of Route 287.

The Sierra Club doesn't support the hunt.

"Not because we're an animal rights group or we're necessarily opposed to hunting," said New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel. "We believe until there's an appropriate bear management plan in place that includes education, protection of habitat, dealing with food and garbage issues as well as using some non-legal methods, we won't support a hunt."

Tittel said a hunt would be warranted if other management techniques didn't work.

"We believe a hunt without a real management plan is just an excuse for a hunt and does nothing to deal with problem bears," Tittel added.

Herrighty said there are research and education efforts on the part of the state.

"We have staff that goes to schools and townships, teach people how to live in bear country, give them the do's and don'ts of garbage management," he said. "We put out millions of pieces of literature in the mail, we typically work with towns when bears start showing up in the towns."

69 News asked people in New Jersey what they think of the issue.

"I really don't feel they need to do this. We took over their land, we should let them live, either that or move them where they need to be," said Trish Kleiman of Lopatcong Township.

Matthew Raulf of Stewartsville said "I don't really care one way or another but I don't really like hunting that much anyway. I think it's kind of dangerous for people to carry guns and shoot."

"If they're going to use it for the meat I guess then it's okay," he added.

Alex David of Milford said, "If they're causing problems I can understand we need to take care of it but if there's just a lot of them I don't see what the issue is."

"It really doesn't bother me because I know black bears are dangerous and there's a lot of children around and I wouldn't want my son to encounter one in the backyard," said Alison Poerner of Three Bridges. "Mama bears are always protective of their cubs and I wouldn't want my son to encounter a cub and then be mauled by its mother."

Find more information about bear hunting season in New Jersey.