HACKENSACK, N.J. -- New Jersey has agreed to permit more bear-hunt opponents at one of its key check-in sites for a planned protest Saturday and allow a member of the group to photograph a carcass as it's weighed.
The settlement came as the parties appeared Thursday before a state Supreme Court justice as part of an appeal by the Animal Protection League of New Jersey. Judge Barry Albin encouraged the two sides to hash out a deal instead of moving forward with the process, an attorney for the animal rights group said.
The activists are protesting the black bear hunt, which they believe is cruel.
The hunt is taking place in an area of North Jersey bounded to the east by Route 287, to the south by Route 78, to the west by the Delaware River and to the north by the New York border.
The state Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish & Wildlife reported that 43 bears were killed on Thursday.
Hunters had taken 369 bears, including at least 68 in a hunting zone that encompasses West Milford, Ringwood, part of Vernon and part of northeastern Morris County. Given those totals, hunters had killed just under 11 percent of the region's state-estimated population of 3,400 bears.
A ruling at the state's Superior Court Appellate Division on Monday allowed the activists to demonstrate at a bear check-in station on Route 23 in Franklin Borough, Sussex County. Citing safety reasons, the DEP had tried to bar the group from that location, permitting activists at only two more-remote locations.
But the appeals court allowed only 25 protesters in a small patch of the state property, surrounded by a large red plastic fence. That prompted activists to appeal those restrictions to the state Supreme Court.
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