New Jersey's controversial black bear hunt is being extended because not enough bruins have been killed.

Hunters have killed 92 black bears during a five day hunt, according to information posted on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's website. That is estimated to be just 6% of the current black bear population.

The NJDEP and wildlife management officials had targeted a 20% reduction in the population.

NJ DEP
NJDEP
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When the New Jersey Fish and Game Council approved a five-day bear hunt, they included the option to add an additional four days if targets were not met. Hunters will be able to return to the woods on Dec. 14.

The last time a black bear hunt was held was in 2020. During that hunt, 410 bears were killed. The NJDEP estimated at the time that equated to 13.4% of the black bear population.

NJ bear incidents 2022 (Townsquare Media/NJDEP)
NJ bear incidents 2022 (Townsquare Media/NJDEP)
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Gov. Phil Murphy, who had been vehemently opposed to black bear hunting, said he reluctantly agreed to go along with a hunt in 2022 due to a sharp rise in the number of bear-human encounters. Murphy insisted it was the only way to keep people safe.

Animal right's groups sued, and a judge temporarily blocked the hunt. The stay was lifted on Dec. 6, and hunting began at 4 p.m. that day.

Meanwhile, Berkeley Township Police sent out an alert about black bears being sighted around town. They did not mention any specific encounter, but said such sightings do happen "from time-to-time."

Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at eric.scott@townsquaremedia.com

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