Second leg of New Jersey black bear hunt to begin Wednesday
New Jersey’s black bear hunt is back on for four more days starting on Wednesday.
The second hunt comes after nearly 100 bears were killed in the first, shortened version of the hunt last week. It was not enough to meet the goals of state wildlife officials.
The state Department of Environmental Protection says that 93 bears were culled during the first leg of the hunt, which ended this past weekend.
A spokesperson for the DEP said in a statement, "Various factors, including weather, can impact harvest rates. It should also be noted the first phase of the season was shortened by more than a day and a half due to the legal challenge of the hunt."
Whether the hunt continues or not isn’t based on the total number of bears killed. Instead, it is based on the number of bears with ear tags that are killed. That number is used to gauge the rough size of the state’s whole bear population and determines how many must be culled to thin the herd.
The DEP sets the standard that determines if the hunt continues. Eleven of the 93 bears killed had tags. This is just 6% - far less than the 20% goal.
On the first day of the hunt last week, officials gave another reason why the number of bears killed could be fewer – deer.
“Because Monday was the opening day for deer season and still was the opening day for deer season, there's a lot of people in the woods, there's a lot of activity in the woods. And so wildlife becomes naturally wary of humans because there's just so much activity,” David Golden, assistant director of New Jersey Fish and Wildlife said at the time.
Golden says using the bear’s meat is a requirement. Some hunters also have the bears stuffed and mounted as a trophy.
“Some will get it completely mounted. Some'll get it partially mounted,” Golden said. “They really respect the animal, and they try to utilize it as much as they possibly can.”
DEP regulations state that a hunter may be required to produce the meat of the bear or produce records on the location of the bear meat within 48 hours of the hunt.