Ex-senator says New Jersey bear hunt is ‘unforgiveable’

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FREDON, N.J. — Former Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli is joining opponents of New Jersey’s bear hunt who say it is inhumane and blame it for the death of a wild bear who walked upright.

Torricelli told NJ.com outside a state weigh station Saturday that hunters are “slaughtering entire families of bears.” He called the hunt “unforgivable.”

State wildlife officials believe the bipedal bear, popularly known as Pedals, was killed in an October hunt.

As of Friday, hunters killed a record 629 bears, up from the previous record of 592 in 2010.

The hunt is scheduled to end Saturday, but officials say it will be suspended once the cumulative harvest rate of tagged bears reaches 30 percent.

Torricelli ended a re-election bid in 2002 after an ethics panel admonished him over campaign contributions.

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