487 bears killed so far in NJ’s extended hunt … including Pedals?
NEWTON — Hunters have killed 487 bears during New Jersey's expanded black bear hunt.
Figures show 55 bears were killed on Friday, the fifth day of the hunt and the second in which muzzle-loading guns were permitted.
The six-day expanded hunt is due to end on Saturday.
There were 510 bears killed during last year's hunt, which was the second-highest total since the hunt re-started in 2010.
State officials say the expanded hunt was added this year due to increased human and bear interaction. The first three days were reserved for bow hunting, while hunting with bows and muzzle-loading guns are allowed for the final three days.
The firearm-only season for bear hunting this year will take place from Dec. 5-10.
The hunt — opposed by some animal advocates — became more controversial than usual after reports this week that a hunter might have killed Pedals, a wild bear known for walking on his hind legs because of a paw injury.
State officials, however, said they have no way of confirming whether Pedals indeed was killed because they never collected biological samples to test.
Pedals supporter Lisa Rose started a petition signed by more than 311,000 people, asking state officials to move Pedals to the Orphaned Wildlife Center in Otisville, New York. But wildlife officials there denied a permit for a second special-needs bear and New Jersey wildlife officials have insisted that Pedals was able to survive on his own.
New Jersey 101.5 staff contributed to this report.
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