New Jersey bear hunt gets under way

New Jersey’s second bear hunt in 35 years kicked off yesterday despite last-minute attempts by activists to halt the six-day season. By Monday afternoon, 54 bears had been killed. Joisey’s growing bear population is estimated at 2,000 to 3,000, and human-bear encounters are increasing. Hunt advocates claim bear season is a good way to thin the bruin population. Animal-rights groups unsuccessfully went to the New Jersey Supreme Court to stop the hunt, contending that the state’s bear management plan is not scientifically sound, and that the government hadn’t done enough to educate people on avoiding bears or distribute bear-proof garbage cans. “Until we get our garbage under control there will continue to be a rise in nuisance complaints with or without bear hunts,” says bear advocate Lynda Smith. But hunter Kirk Lee counters, “I love living with the bears, but I support the hunt. There’s too many out there for the amount of space available.”