Animal activists hate it. Hunters love it.

And the battle starts a little early this year over the annual bear hunt – which normally begins around December.

This time, especially in the wake of the Rutgers student that had wandered into the woods and was subsequently attacked, West Milford town council is asking the state for permission to expand the bear hunt.

After fatal attack, West Milford asks state to expand bear hunt – a resolution which passed by a 4-2 vote. But the meeting was not without its share of contention.

One of the councilmen, Michael Hensley, who voted in favor of the resolution claimed that the hunt is a necessary part of life.

Councilwoman Carl La Horton, who comes from a hunting family and was one of the “no” votes countered that hunters should use all bear parts and not just prey upon them for what they want.

Also in attendance were members of the community who had safety concerns as well as members of the Bear Education and Resource Group, who said the attack could have been prevented had the student known what to do when encountering a bear. In other words, don't go into the woods without first knowing what you're going to encounter.

In the last few years, hunting advocates had found that bears have become more aggressive and less wary of humans – and with the reinstitution of the hunt in 2010, nuisance complaints were down.

I’d brought up the issue in the wake of the Rutgers student’s death – and felt that, while this kid shouldn’t have wandered off without knowing what to do when encountering a bear – there’s no denying that the bear population has either grown, or has gotten more daring. Witness some of the recent bear sightings in areas where you wouldn't expect to find them - and that should convince you that perhaps the herd need to be culled a tad.

Either way, the resolution has no "bearing" on the hunt this year (see how I went there) - but once the hunt is over, state officials will evaluate whether or not the hunt should be extended.

Should the bear hunt be extended?