NEW JERSEY - New Jersey's annual black bear hunt got off to wet start Monday as remnants from Hurricane Delta soaked the state with wind-whipped rain.
The first three days of the six-day hunt that began a half hour before sunrise is restricted to hunters using archery. Beginning Thursday, they can use archery and muzzleloading rifles.
The second segment of the hunt, for firearms only, is scheduled to begin on Dec. 7.
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The hunt is restricted to Sussex, Warren, Passaic, Morris, Bergen, Hunterdon, Somerset and Mercer counties. Hunting is prohibited in state parks, forests and wildlife management areas.
Hunters bagged 315 bears during the 2019 hunt. Most were killed in Sussex County.
Gov. Phil Murphy has said this year could be the last for the bear hunt, which the Democrat pledged to end when he ran for governor in 2017. Murphy cited a new bear management plan that the state Fish and Game Council was studying.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, no bear check stations are available. Hunters must tag their kills and call a number for instructions.