Second stage of New Jersey expanded black bear hunt resumes

The second stage of New Jersey's expanded black bear hunt resumed Monday. 

The hunt is for firearms only this time around and is scheduled to last for six days. According to state officials, the goal of New Jersey's bear hunting season is to keep the population sustainable and healthy and to reduce potential conflicts with people.

The Fish, Game and Wildlife Department says northwest New Jersey has one of the densest populations of bears in the nation, along with one of the nation's highest bear reproduction rates, due largely to abundant food sources and excellent habitat.

The hunt will take place in five zones that encompass all or parts of Hunterdon, Passaic, Morris, Somerset, Mercer, Sussex and Warren counties, as well as a small portion of Bergen County.

The first stage of the season in October brought in 562 bears.

Protesters gathered outside the Whittingham Wildlife Management Area in Newton early in the morning to express their anger over the hunt. The demonstrators also showed up for the first part of the hunt in October.

Animal rights groups and lawmakers say the hunt causes more problems and is "inhumane."

Opponents are rallying behind the apparent death of Pedals, a bipedal bear and internet celebrity believed to be killed in October's hunt.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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