HARDYSTON TOWNSHIP — Three bear hunters in New Jersey want hunt opponents to put their money where their mouths are.

The hunters say they'll destroy their hunting licenses if opponents pay them $500 each. The proceeds will be donated to a food pantry and an animal shelter.

Michael Bush of Mountain Mike's Sports Shop in Sussex County posted the challenge on Facebook. Bush tells NJ.com he wants to see how much people care about the bears.

In the original Facebook post on Monday Bush said $500 was the starting bid for to destroy his bear tag, and that he would donate the money raised to the local food pantry. He said he based the amount of money on the "value of the meat I lose by not tagging one."

"If I receive no bids by noon tomorrow and the cash in hand by sundown I will be bear hunting the remainder of the season," he said.

On Tuesday Bush said two additional hunters were offering to destroy their licenses as well for a starting donation of $1,500. With more money he said the donation would be split evenly between a local animal shelter and a local food pantry.

"Now not only are you helping humans in need, you are helping needy animals you say you care so much about," he said.

On Tuesday afternoon Bush posted again that he had not received any offers for the tags.

"You had your chance with many tags to bid on for a worthy charity and to save bears by noontime today but it was nothing but CRICKETS!!!," he said. "I gave you over a day to do something about saving bears from hunters and nothing but silence and insults was posted."

State Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel says it sounds like they're trying to ransom the bears and are trying to discredit the people who oppose the hunt.

Officials are extending New Jersey's bear hunt because this year's harvest fell short with hunters bagging 382 black bears during both segments of the 12-day hunt, which ended Saturday.

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