This year's hunt will run through Saturday in counties in Northern and northwestern New Jersey. Any sex or size bear is fair game, including cubs. Limit is one bear per hunter.
The state Fish and Game Council estimated in 2010 that roughly 3,400 bears lived in New Jersey north of I-80. About 1,600 bears have been killed in the four bear hunts, and the Department of Environmental Protection estimates there are now about 2,500 bruins in those areas.
Darsh Patel, a Rutgers University student hiking with his friends in Apshawa Preserve in West Milford, was killed by a 300-pound black bear in September. Bear hunt critics say Patel's death shows that more education and warning signs are needed.
Overall reports of aggressive bears have fallen from 235 in 2010 to 129 in 2013, though there was a slight increase from 2012 to 2013. Reports of home entries and attempted entries fell from 90 in 2010 to 33 last year but have risen recently, to 44 through Nov. 20.