The second day of New Jersey's controversial six-day bear hunt has begun, leaving behind it a record 264 bears killed in the first day. To curb the growing bear population of the state David Chanda of the state Division of Fish and Wildlife said, "Hunting is one necessary component of our management plan. It’s likely going to be an annual hunt." But are hunters getting ahead of themselves? The state hoped to reduce the approximately 3,400 bear population by 300 to 400 by the end of the week, which they're on track to doing by later this afternoon. Chanda estimated that as many as 700 could be killed by the end of the week.
During the last hunt in 2005, just 297 bears were killed, though the bear population in the state has doubled since 2001. About 7,800 permits have been issued, though hunters faced protests as they began yesterday morning. Protesters carried signs reading "Mother Nature is Crying," and Bill Craine of Manhattan was arrested for refusing to leave a restricted area. Craine was also arrested for protesting the hunts five years ago. However, many hunters paid no attention to their pleas. George Agens said, "I like hunting and I enjoy being out in the woods—and they enjoy bothering people." And do the protesters really want to rain on this 11-year-olds parade?
Critics said education programs should be the key to curbing the state's bear "problem," as should things like bear-proof garbage cans. But some hunters are just out for revenge. Hunter Daniel Smith said of his enemy, "I’m tired of seeing him on my front steps," and nicknamed him "’Carpet,’ because I’m hoping that’s what he’s going to be."