NJ bear hunt comes to an end

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The 2015 New Jersey Bear Hunt ended Saturday with a total of 510 bears taken, the most since 2010.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Bob Considine said warmer weather was one key to a higher harvest.

"The hunters were out there, they were engaged, they wanted to take part in this year's hunt," said Considine, who added that "There was a four-day extension.  They knew they could get more time to hunt if they got a permit, so I think that's why we saw the numbers that we did."

The hunt continues to draw protest from groups such as the Sierra Club and others.

Edita Birnkrant of Friends of Animals is particularly repulsed that there are no rules preventing the hunting of cubs and females.

"They almost encourage the hunters to kill cubs, there is no restriction," said Birnkrant.  "You can kill cubs, you can kill mothers, they do not care, and that just shows the level of callousness and sadism."

Considine said that most hunters aim to kill the biggest bears they can find, not the smallest, adding that some hunters can't tell what they've got until after it's been shot.

New Jersey bears remain in the news this week for other reasons.

A scoutmaster was attacked by a bear in Rockaway as he explored a cave and came upon the bruin, according to reports.

Birnkrant says that bears rarely attack, and that they're peaceful if left alone.