HOPATCONG, N.J. (AP) — A 350-pound bear apparently used a crawlspace as a hideout during New Jersey's annual black bear hunt.

A cleaner in Hopatcong called police when he noticed signs of a bear while he prepared a vacant house to go up for sale on Friday. An officer called state wildlife officials after he looked in the crawlspace and saw the bruin's head.

Environmental Protection Department spokesman Larry Ragonese tells The Star-Ledger of Newark a senior wildlife biologist chased the bear away on Wednesday. Ragonese says the bear was reluctant to leave and lethargic.

A wildlife official is standing guard to tranquilize the animal if it returns. Officials have told the real estate agent to seal the crawlspace.

Hunters killed 251 bears during the hunt, which ended Saturday.


Information from: The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger, www.nj.com