TRENTON — Despite objections from Gov. Phil Murphy during the gubernatorial campaign, his appointed director of the Department of Environmental Protection said there will be a bear hunt this year.

Murphy said during the campaign he would place a moratorium on the bear hunt in order to allow the DEP to determine if non-lethal methods could be just as effective.

During a Senate budget hearing, acting commissioner Catherine R. McCabe explained that non-lethal suggestions to control the bear population, including birth control and taking the bears to another state, are not proven solutions.

"No one wants to shoot animals if you don't have to but according to wildlife managers and veterinarians it's sometimes more humane to do that," McCabe told the panel.

She said that bear population is growing and that increases the chances of human-bear encounters.

"It's mostly people who cause this," because bears are naturally attracted to the same foods humans are throwing out in their garbage, McCabe said.

New Jersey's bear season in 2017 had two parts: 244 bears were killed during an a five-day period in October during which three days were for archery hunters only. A second 10-day period for firearms only resulted in 409 kills, according to the DEP.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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