NJ black bear hunt kills down significantly in 2017
TRENTON — New Jersey's archery hunt of black bears continued on Tuesday with another 56 kills.
It brings the total number of kills for the season, which is scheduled to end on Saturday, to 82. The most bears were killed in Sussex County with 28, followed by 13 in Morris County and 10 in Warren County, according to the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife.
Wednesday is the final day of archery-only hunting. Muzzle-loading rifles will also be allowed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The number of kills is down significantly from 2016 when 306 bears had been killed by the end of the second day. DEP spokesman Larry Hajna said the weather is one factor as to why the number of kills is down.
The first day of the season, which tends to be most active, was warm and rainy this year. "Bears tend to hunker down if it's too warm. They don't move around a lot. They carry a lot of fur on them," Hajna said. The weather last year was a "spectacular" for the first day of the season.
Hajna said 2016 was also the year of the archery hunt and more permits were sold for the occasion. "By the time the hunt actually began, permit sales were a couple of thousand less than last year,"
It could also be the last black bear hunt. Republican candidate Kim Guadagno supports the hunt while Democrat Phil Murphy said he will put a moratorium on the hunt in order to check on its effectiveness.
A firearms-only black bear hunt starts on Dec. 4 in Bergen, Hunterdon, Mercer, Morris, Passaic, Somerset and Warren counties.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.