The Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin approved a comprehensive black bear management policy, which includes a six-day hunting season in December.
In a press release, Martin said:
"This science- and fact-based policy recognizes that hunting is an important bear management tool in combination with non-lethal controls of problem bears, public education on coexisting with bears and enforcement of laws to reduce conflicts between bears and people."
"Although I respect that some New Jersey residents are opposed to hunting bears, hunting is the only proven and most cost-effective method of wildlife population control and it is utilized successfully by other states with viable bear populations."
The bear population in northwestern New Jersey has grown from 500 animals in 1992 to more than 3,400 currently. There has also been an increase in black bear encounters, with 76 of the 1,261 incidents so far this year considered aggressive.
While more than 9,000 comments were received by the Fish and Game Council regarding the new policy, including many that opposed hunting, no scientifically proven alternative was presented.
Bear Hunting Seminars, which uncertified hunters must attend in order to obtain a permit for the bear season included in the recently adopted Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy (CBBMP). The CBBMP will become effective upon publication in the NJ Register in early fall.
Certifications remain valid for hunters who attended a NJ Bear Hunting Seminar from 2003 to 2006. Those who are interested in bear hunting but do not have certification are encouraged to register for a seminar as soon as possible.
The first round of seminars is now posted at www.wildlifelicense.com/nj/ALS/course/course_report.php where hunters must register to attend. Seminars will be offered monthly until the season opens, including the weekend before the season to accommodate hunters coming from out-of-state.
The bear hunt will be held in portions of a 1,000 square-mile area north of Route 78 and west of Rt. 287 in Morris, Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset and Passaic counties. The black bear permit application period opens on October 1; hunters will be able to apply at any license agent or on the division's license website.
More information on the season, bear hunting zones and permits will be in the 2010 Hunting Issue of the Fish and Wildlife Digest, available at license agents and the division Web site the week of August 9.
|Black Bears Have Been Sighted|
In All 21 NJ Counties