- Associated Press - Sunday, December 11, 2016

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The record number of bears killed in New Jersey’s hunt has grown to 636.

The number was reached Saturday when hunters bagged seven bears during the sixth day of the second part of this year’s hunt. The previous record was 592 bears killed in 2010.

The firearms-only hunt began Monday and ended Saturday. It followed October’s six-day hunt, which was limited to bows and arrows and muzzle-loading guns.

Animal rights’ groups and lawmakers say the hunt causes more problems and is inhumane.

On Saturday, former Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli joined the protesters to denounce the hunt. Outside a weigh station in northern New Jersey, he called the killings “unforgiveable.”

Opponents also are upset with the apparent death of a wild bear, given the name Pedals by its fans, that walked upright and that officials believe was killed in October.

Department of Environmental Protection officials believe the bipedal bear was killed during the hunt. The agency released pictures showing the lifeless body of a black bear with injured paws similar to Pedals’, but officials there couldn’t confirm the identity because Pedals was never tagged.

The bear gained fame after it was spotted in 2014 ambling around neighborhoods and was caught on videos that were posted on social media and played on national television.

Animal activists suspected Pedals walked on its hind legs because of injuries to its paws. They doubted Pedals was able to run, climb, defend itself or even eat properly, and they feared it might not survive.

According to state DEP data, most of the bears killed in the December and October hunts were bagged in Sussex County.

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