TRENTON - Hunters headed into the woods this morning for the first day of New Jersey's six-day bear hunt.

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) officials are still tallying up the number of hunters. Today, the DEP estimates that about 200 bears were killed. During last year's bear hunt, 592 bears were killed over the six-day period. The DEP says the hunt is not a trophy hunt.

State officials say the hunt is needed to reduce the state's bruin population, now estimated at about 3,400.

Critics claim the state's bear management policy is flawed and was developed arbitrarily.

Critics lost a court battle last week to block the hunt.

Activists: Stop black bear hunt before it starts Animal rights advocates ask court to halt bear hunt State court rules black bear hunt can proceed