TRENTON - Hunters in New Jersey are returning to the woods in search of black bears.

The state is extending the annual hunt for four days from 30 minutes before sunrise on Wednesday until 30 minutes after sunset on Saturday.

The extension comes after the number of bears harvested during the six-day hunt that ended Saturday fell short of goals, with hunters killing 472 bruins.

Hunters who have already killed a bear this season are not eligible to participate in the extended hunt.

The state recently expanded the areas where hunting is allowed. It is permitted this year in all or portions of Hunterdon, Passaic, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren counties, and parts of Bergen and Mercer counties.

New Jersey resumed bear hunting in 2003 after more than 30 years.