Fewer people have been issued permits for this year's black bear hunt in New Jersey.

Henry King, Getty Images

State fish and wildlife officials say 6,445 bear permits out of a maximum of 10,000 permits have been issued this year. That's a decrease from the 6,700 permits issued last year.

New Jersey's black bear hunting season begins just before dawn on Monday.

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.

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.