Bear Hunt Begins Amid Questions Of Effectiveness

FREDON, N.J. (AP) -

The last of New Jersey’s five state-sponsored bear hunts began Monday, as wildlife officials and opponents of the hunt sparred over whether the hunt has been effective and should be renewed.

Hunters faced crisp, clear weather and no problems were reported. Marc Beardslee of Vernon was the first to arrive at a state science station with a female bear that he had killed.

“Our properties are getting really overpopulated with the bears, so I’m glad I can help,” Beardslee said.

About 1,600 bears have been killed since 2010, out of a total population of 3,400 north of I-80. Reports of Category 1 bears, defined as bruins that are aggressive and a danger to humans or livestock, fell from 235 in 2010 to 129 in 2013.