By a vote of 8 to 1, New Jersey's Fish and Game Council approved in July a six-day black-bear hunting season for six northern counties this December, in response to an increasing and sometimes marauding bear population of an estimated 1,500 to 3,000 animals. It will be the first in the state since 1970, when the near disappearance of black bears forced a complete closure of the hunting season. Gov. Jim McGreevey opposed a bear season while running for office in 2001, but he will not attempt to block its implementation. A McGreevey spokeswoman said the governor has "personal reservations" but is allowing the hunting season "in the name of public safety."