New Jersey man arrested after killing 4 black bear cubs with a firearm

A 22-year-old New Jersey man was arrested and charged Tuesday with unlawfully shooting and killing four black bear cubs.according to the authorities.

Matthew Ligus received multiple citations after allegedly killing the pups, which could net fines of between $1,610 and $5,760, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), according to reported.

New Jersey Fish and Wildlife Conservation officials received a call Sunday afternoon reporting three dead bears in Ringwood, New Jerseyaccording to DEP spokesman Larry Hajna.

The call was reportedly first made to the State Park Police by a hiker at Ringwood State Park, a park in northeast New Jersey that encompasses approximately 4,444 acres.

“[La policía] responded to the scene, on Valley Road along the state park border, and began an investigation with the assistance of the NJ State Park Police and the Ringwood Township Police Department,” Hajna said in a statement. “Upon arrival, they located a fourth dead bear cub.”

Authorities said investigators determined that the pups had been fatally shot.

Local residents reportedly often saw the cubs accompanied by an adult bear and told him a News 12 local that they didn’t care about the sightings. Images of the bear family often circulated on local social media.

During an ongoing investigation, Ligus was charged with hunting with a firearm without a firearms license, hunt a bear during a closed seasonrecklessly discharging a firearm, discharging a firearm within 450 feet of an occupied dwelling, possessing or using illegal ammunition, and hunting a bear with an illegal weapon.

The New Jersey Fish and Wildlife Council voted Tuesday to approve a proposal to revive the state’s bear hunting season, though does not apply to puppies under 75 pounds.

Farmers and residents have complained about the increase in the black bear population and the Council reports that bear encounters have increased by 237% compared to the 2021 figures, according to a report by News 12 New Jersey.

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