2 males are first killed in annual black bear hunt

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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