New Jersey Adopts New Black Bear Management Policy

blackbearstreamfirstforhunters030614On March 3, 2015 the New Jersey Fish and Game Council adopted a proposed an updated Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy. This Policy continues the annual December hunt for which SCI has repeatedly and successfully fought in court. It also adds an October hunt beginning in 2016, expands the area where bear hunting is legal, and calls for enhanced public education efforts in parts of the state that are experiencing encounters between black bears and humans for the first time. For 2015, the six-day hunter is scheduled to being on December 7.

The proposed policy has several improvements:

  • Starting this year, New Jersey sportsmen and women will have additional land within Northwest New Jersey in which to harvest black bears.
  • The Division of Fish and Wildlife can extend the hunt by up to four days if there is bad weather.
  • Beginning in 2016, the State will add a six-day October season, with three days dedicated to bow hunting (hunters will be allowed to harvest one bear in both the October and December seasons).

Public education efforts will continue to emphasize the importance of ongoing public outreach, trash management and research. Efforts will be focused on urban areas and parts of the state where bears are expanding their range.

The Council has sent the proposed policy to Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin, who must approve it before it is published in the New Jersey Register and opened for a 60-day public comment period and public hearing.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife has conservatively estimated the black bear population in northwestern New Jersey at 3,500. This population is about the same as when the hunt was first authorized in 2010. The population has not decreased significantly because reproduction rates have exceeded mortality from hunting and natural causes.

For more information on black bears in New Jersey and a copy of the proposed Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy, visit:

Safari Club International congratulates the New Jersey Fish and Game Council for continuing to improve their science-based bear management program. Professional biologists need to continue to manage the bear population. Hunting has proven to be a critical component in managing the bear population. Without bear hunting, it would be much more difficult for New Jersey to control the number of human-bear conflicts while striving to maintain a sustainable and robust bear population.

One Response to “New Jersey Adopts New Black Bear Management Policy”
  1. Mathew says:

    It really was about time. I don’t get why they didn’t adopt the policy earlier? I congratulate the Fish and Game council in New Jersey for this achievement!

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