Hunters take aim in the Garden State today as black bear hunting season gets underway.
Fewer permits have been issued this year. State fish and wildlife officials say 6,445 bear permits out of a maximum of 10,000 permits have been issued for this hunt. That's a decrease from the 6,700 permits issued last year when 287 bears killed. Most were in Sussex County. That total was down from 2010 and 2011, when the kills totaled over 400.
The six-day hunt will take place in four designated areas in parts of Sussex, Warren, Morris, Passaic Bergen, Somerset and Hunterdon counties.
Hunters, who must have permits, are limited to only one bear for the season.
Hunters who bag bears must take them to designated stations where biological data on the bears are recorded.
State wildlife officials say it is part of a plan to control the state's black bear population, which grew to about 3,000 in the hunting area in 2012.
Animal rights groups are planning to protest.