EDISON - Officials say 264 black bears have been killed on the first day of New Jersey's first bear hunt since 2005.
Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Ragonese says hunters took a mix of males, females and cubs weighing between 140 and 360 pounds. As many as 700 bears are expected to be killed in the weeklong hunt.
The six-day hunt got under way just before sunrise yesterday. Wildlife officials say the hunt is needed to reduce a black bear population now thought to number about 3,400.
A Superior Court judge kept in place a limit yesterday on the number of hunt protesters at two wildlife areas in northwestern New Jersey.
The DEP set a limit of 25 protesters at the Pequest Wildlife Management Area in Warren County and Whittingham Wildlife Management Area in Sussex County. Judge Stephen Skillman agreed.
NJ bear hunt begins in 7 countiesNJ's bear hunt gets under wayNJ State Supreme Court refuses to stop bear hunt Bear hunt opponents to rally at Statehouse Activists want high court to stop NJ bear hunt NJ bear hunt approved following sightings Poll: Majority in NJ favor bear hunt