New Jersey 2010 Bear Hunt Approved

New Jersey DEP, Bear Hunting Magazine

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin gave the final approval to the state's first black bear hunt in five years today.

Martin said in a press conference that the six-day shotgun and muzzleloading rifle hunt, slated to begin December 6th, is just part of an overall plan to control their numbers that will also include continuing public education efforts and securing trash that attracts bears to homes. But the bear population growth has become a public safety issue, and a hunt is needed, he said.

"It is clear that a historical rise in public complaints regarding black bears is correlated with the growing bear population. This public safety issue cannot be ignored,' Martin said.

New Jersey is very close to holding its first bear hunt in five years after the New Jersey Fish and Game Council voted unanimously on Tuesday, July 13 to adopt its Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy (CBBMP).

The policy now awaits the approval of the Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin. His office said he will review the public comments on the proposal before making a final decision by early August.

If approved, it will be the first bear hunt in the state in five years.

"I wish to express my gratitude to the Fish and Game Council for its hard work developing a science-based policy that recognizes that hunting is an important bear management tool to go along with lethal and non-lethal controls of problem bears, public education on coexisting with bears and enforcement of laws to reduce conflicts between bears and people," Martin said.

The CBBMP includes a six-day hunting season as part of its comprehensive strategy to manage the state's bear population. This hunting season would start December 6 and be held in the region of the state north of Route 78 and west of Interstate 287.

After the black bear management policy went through a public comment period that ended on June 18, the Fish and Game Council reviewed the public's input and voted at a Tuesday meeting to approve the CBBMP. Should the commissioner also adopt the policy, an adoption document will be published in the New Jersey Register that will include comments and responses to the comments, along with any changes made to the proposed policy. The policy will become effective on the publication date of the adoption document.

The Fish and Game Council incorporated the latest research and science into its proposed black bear management policy showing the population is sustainable and growing. The most recent black bear population estimate for the portion of New Jersey north of Interstate 80 is approximately 3,400 animals. Bears have been reported in all 21 counties.

The CBBMP can be viewed in its entirety here Bear Policy.

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