It was a controversial move when Gov. Phil Murphy ended New Jersey’s bear hunt. It's no conscience that encounters have more than tripled this year and it's about to ramp up. Why? This is the most active time for our friend the black bear since they're filling up on food to prepare for a long winter’s nap.

There were almost two thousand bear incidents this year alone. Experts are advising that nature lovers be very careful when hiking or even taking a long walk and to be alert to all surroundings. Also, make sure to eliminate food sources to the best of your ability, especially your garbage cans.

Black bear (Photo Credit: NJ DEP)
Black bear (Photo Credit: NJ DEP)

Black bears have been spotted in every single county in New Jersey, including Monmouth and Ocean counties which is pretty rare. Here are the amounts of black bear encountered in the most active areas according to The Patch:

Counties With The Most Bear Activity In New Jersey For 2022

Sussex County: 238 incidents in 2021, 701 this year
Morris County: 103 incidents in 2021, 411 this year
Warren County: 77 incidents in 2021, 272 this year
Passaic County: 33 incidents in 2021, 186 this year
Hunterdon County: 59 incidents in 2021, 128 this year

Minimize Your Changes Of Meeting Up With A Black Bear

Just make sure you are careful with your trash can and any meat scraps (they can smell that for miles)
Ditch the birdfeeders (bears love them and find their contents to be an easy meal)
If you see a bear while in the great outdoors DO NOT RUN. Slowly back away and do not make eye contact.
Make loud noises, be bigger than the bear and raise/ wave your arms.

I had one in my neighborhood!  Here is a photo of the encounter.

Make sure you keep a close eye on your puppies too!  Bears will go after them if they are hungry enough.  If you have one of these dogs they are bound to not listen to you if you see a bear so have them on a leash!

LOOK: The least obedient dog breeds

Can you believe someone in New Jersey once tried to own a bear?  Check out this list of animals that are illegal to own here.

10 Exotic Animals That Are Legal To Own In New Jersey

Who woulda thought?


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