New Jersey Extra Bear Permits Selling Well

NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife, Bear Hunting Magazine

More than half the available permits in New Jersey to harvest black bears during this year's six-day bear hunting season December 3-8 have been purchased. As of Thursday, there were fewer than 50 remaining for the western half of Sussex and Warren counties. Other zones in the state had more available.

Permits are free, but there is a $2 application fee. The Division of Fish and Wildlife allows up to 10,000 permits to be sold, but in the first lottery round, licensed hunters can apply for only one permit in one zone.

State hunting regulations allow a hunter to take just one bear, but with more than one permit, a hunter would have a choice of zones in which to hunt.

In 2011, the state issued nearly 9,100 permits to about 7,500 licensed hunters with 469 bears reported killed. There were 186 bears taken in Zone 1; 139 in Zone 2; 111 in Zone 3 and 33 in Zone 4.

This with be the fifth bear hunt in New Jersey this century after about 30 years of no bear hunting. Hunts were held in 2003 and 2005 but closed down by court and political decisions until 2010.

The bear population has been reduced slightly by the hunt and the latest estimate is that there are about 2,800 black bears within zones 1-3, down from a population estimate of about 3,500 bears in 2010. This has helped the overall number of bear complaints received.

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