Bear Complaints Continue To Rise In New Jersey

New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, Bear Hunting Magazine

The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife released their monty activity report for April 20 to May 20, 2008. During this time frame, more than half of the serious bear complaints so far this year occurred during this time frame.

The division stated it received 590 bear reports since Jan. 1, with 305 of them during the April 20 to May 20 reporting period. Of the serious incidents, 35 of the 69 reports taken this year came in that same 30-day period. The report also notes that black bear unit personnel have euthanized five bears through May 20, compared to just two bears for the same period in 2007.

The report also notes that the 305 complaints to date for black bears is more than the total of all other wildlife complaints combined. That includes such things as reported abandoned fawns, 27 coyote complaints, another 27 about deer, 30 dealing with raccoons and one about a peacock.

One of the euthanized bears was a chicken coop-raiding bear that broke into a chicken coop and killed the last of his fowl, according to the DFW. On April 16, a week before the latest incident, division personnel captured and euthanized a bear that had broken into the hen house. On May 8, a citizen in nearby Jefferson, reported a bear raided his chicken coop. That person managed to chase the bear away before any chickens were killed. Among other animals reported killed by bears were pet rabbits in Vernon, Frankford, Hampton and Stillwater, all in Sussex County, and Ringwood in Passaic County; goats in White and Hope in Warren County; and several beehives in Hunterdon, Morris and Warren counties.

The department also investigated bears that aggressively approached people, one a landscaper in Rockaway and another from Great Gorge Village where tenants were approached. When security personnel went to investigate, the bear charged at them while trying to eat from an unsecured Dumpster.

Already this year, there have been 180 complaints of bears getting into garbage, compared to 109 last year. There also have been 15 home entries reported during this period compared to eight a year ago. The majority of the home entry or attempted entry complaints came from Sussex County, although one home was entered in Warren County.

In all, there were black bear complaints from eight counties, including Bergen and Ocean, which are areas not usually considered to have bear problems.

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