The recent death of a 22-year-old Rutgers student hiking in West Milford has drawn attention to the bear population in northwest New Jersey and its growth. The most recent official statistics are from 2009 and 2010, when the state estimated that there were 3,400 black bears living in the state.
The number of black bears increased 133 percent from 2001 to 2009. Complaints about bears increased 200 percent during that period.
The state runs a five-day bear hunt every year, in which between 250 and 300 bears are typically taken. Critics of the bear program say that this is not nearly enough to keep up with the population growth.