2 males are first killed in annual black bear hunt

The six-day hunt started just before dawn today. It's meant to control the state's black bear population, now estimated at about 2,900.

More than 6,500 bear hunting permits have been

More than 6,500 bear hunting permits have been issued. (Credit: News 12 New Jersey)

WARREN - (AP) A 165-pound male was the first black bear to be killed as New Jersey's six-day hunt got under way at sunrise Monday.

Environmental Department officials report that a Boonton man killed the bear in Jefferson Township, Morris County, shortly after morning fog lifted.

The second bear to be taken was a 124-pound male in Sparta, Sussex County.

The 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 a hunt, trash management and education, has reduced the bear population and the number of bear-human interactions.

The hunt runs until sunset Saturday, concurrent with the firearm deer hunting season.

Hunting is allowed north of Interstate 78 and west of Interstate 287.

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