Western New Jersey

New Jersey bear hunt could be extended, or could be the last

VIDEO: Second phase of bear hunt...

The second phase of New Jersey's bear hunt is underway and it could be the last hunt for some time.

Governor-elect Phil Murphy has promised a moratorium.

For now, the state DEP is focused on what happens this week.

"Our goal is to reach the 30 percent tagged-bear harvest rate," said Lawrence Hajna, spokesperson with NJDEP. "That's a number we feel is sufficient to keep the bear population sustainable as well as to enhance public safety."

As of Tuesday, 85 bears have been harvested, but only two of those bears were tagged.

NJDEP tagged bears are bears that were part of nuisance complaints or ongoing research. That number is 135 bears, meaning the hunt can continue until 40 tagged bears are caught.

On Governor-elect Murphy's Facebook page, he says one of his goals is to end black bear hunts, but NJDEP officials say they're focused on the hunt this year. 

The hunt can be extended if the minimum number set for harvest isn't reached. However, the NJDEP won't make that decision until after Saturday. 

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