TRENTON - New Jersey wildlife officials estimate more than 200 bears have been killed on the first day of the state's annual black bear hunt.

The hunt started Monday and is held for six days. Animal rights activists spent part of the day in court securing permission to demonstrate at various bear check stations.

Wildlife officials say the hunt is necessary to reduce a bear population now estimated at about 3,400.

Opponents say it is cruel and say the state's bear control policies are misguided.

Officials say 8,000 permits have been issued to about 6,500 hunters for this year's hunt.

Black bear hunt begins in northern New Jersey