Compared to the muzzle-loader bear hunt when 562 black bears were taken down, just 27 bears were counted on Monday, after the first day of the firearm season.
Last year, hunters killed 216 bears on the first day of the bear hunt. It seems that the second NJ hunting season is slowed down by snow in some areas.
According to the reports from the Department of Environmental Protection, the agency which monitors the bear hunt, 18 bears were counted on Tuesday, bring the total to 45 specimens. Although most hunters are wondering where are all the black bears, the experts explain that many of them are already in hibernation.
They further add that hundreds of bears were already killed in October, so there are fewer bears left. That is why the Fish and Wildlife officials were requested to keep just the fall season and eliminate the winter one.
Some hunters say that bears slow down in December. Also, there are too many hunters and a reduced number of bears. As such, they have fewer opportunities to kill these animals. More precisely, over 9,600 hunters have a bear permit which allows them to participate in the winter bear hunt.
“It could be weather. It could be that more bears are in their dens because it’s December,” says Robert Geist, one of the DEP spokespersons.
He believes that snow represents a major obstacle which makes the hunting season more difficult for the hunters. On the other hand, biologists and animal rights activists stress that this is the solid proof that the bear population has plummeted due to the October hunt.
Based on the DEP estimates, there are 2,600 to 3,000 black bears in New Jersey, and the hunters killed 562 in October. Now, another bear hunt allows them to take down even more bears.
Many conservationists say that they don’t trust the FWS statistics. Instead, they believe that the black bear population might be much lower because of the October hunting season.
It is worth mentioning that although the FWS biologists tagged 197 bears this year, 46 were killed two months ago, meaning 24 percent of all tagged bears. If the number of bears killed hits the 30 percent benchmark, the officials will stop the bear hunt.
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