In 2016, black bear hunters in New Jersey will have an additional six-day season to hunt in the northwestern section of the state.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, DEP, approved the additional season on Nov. 16. The plan, which was proposed in May to reduce the size of the bear population, includes new hunting areas and archery hunting.
The 2015 season will take place Dec. 7-12. The added season will take place in October 2016.
According to the DEP, the black bear population is about 3,500 bears, the same as it was when hunting started in 2010. There have been about 1,500 animals taken since bear hunting began.
“Hunting is an important tool in maintaining an ecological balance with our black bear population and is necessary to reduce the potential for conflicts between bears and people, particularly in northwestern New Jersey, which has the state’s densest bear population,” said DEP commissioner Bob Martin.
The added October season will have three days for only archery hunting, and three days for the use of both bow and arrow, and muzzleloaders. The DEP also says that if bad weather impacts the December season, it could be expanded by four days. In addition, hunters will be allowed to kill two bears, but only one in each season.
Environmental groups have protested the hunt since the beginning, and seek more education for the public in regards to living in bear territory.
The DEP says part of the approved plan “re-emphasizes the importance of ongoing public education efforts, trash management and research.”