It probably sounds like something you won't have to know, but you never know and if you encounter a bear, probably a black bear, in New Jersey would you know what to do?

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The closest I came to a bear was on a hiking trip with my wife April in Sussex County, New Jersey. We were coming down a trail when another hiker coming from the opposite direction said "Bear spotted ahead", needless to say, we turned around and headed back, we had enough steps at that point lol. We didn't want a "bear encounter" so it was "safety first". We did not run into the bear.

IF YOU ENCOUNTER A BEAR...(New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife)

  • Do not feed or engage the bear
  • Remain calm and let the bear know you are there. Talk or sing in a loud, assertive voice. Clap your hands and/or make other noises.
  • Keep your distance from the bear and make sure the bear has an escape route.
  • Avoid direct eye contact. Bears perceive "direct eye contact" as a challenge.
  • Never run! Slowly back away. If with others, stay in a group.
  • To scare the bear away, make loud noises by yelling, banging pots and pans, knocking rocks together, or using an air horn.
  • Make yourself look as big as you can by waving your arms. If you are with someone else stand close together with your arms raised above your head.
  • If a bear huffs, swats at the ground, or makes popping sounds it means you are too close. Slowly back away, no eye contact, do not run.
  • If a bear stands or moves closer it usually doesn't mean a threatening behavior, it may be trying to get a better view or scent.
  • Black bears will sometimes "bluff charge" when cornered, threatened, or attempting to steal food. Stand your ground, avoid direct eye contact, and then slowly back away. Do not run.
  • Finally, if the bear will not leave, slowly back away and head to a nearby shelter. DO NOT RUN and do not turn away from the bear.

The tips are from the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.


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