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New Jersey's Black Bear Hunting Season

 

Following Governor Phil Murphy's Executive Order No. 34 (pdf), DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe has issued Administrative Order No. 2018-24 closing all DEP owned, managed or otherwise controlled lands to bear hunting during the October and December 2018 season segments. The closure includes, but is not limited to, the following: state forests, parks, recreation areas and natural areas; and wildlife management areas.
Administrative Order 2018-24
(pdf)

2018 SEASON DATES
Segment A, Archery: October 8-13
Segment A, Archery and Muzzleloader: October 11-13
Segment B, Firearm: December 3-8; and 12-15 (if extended)

2018 Bear Permits On Sale
Permits available at license agents and online (permits are mailed).

Harvest Information

General Information

All hunters are reminded to observe the 450-foot "Safety Zone" distance around buildings and playgrounds when firearm hunting and the 150-foot distance when archery hunting (except 450-feet around playgrounds).

The New Jersey black bear hunting season has been held concurrently with the Six-day Firearm Deer Season since 2010. Beginning in 2016 there are two segments to the bear season: Segment A in October, with the first three days for archery only; the final three days for both archery and muzzleloading rifle hunters. Segment B is for firearms only and is held concurrently with the Six-day Firearm Deer Season ; there is the option for the season to be extended the following week if harvest objectives are not met.

Participants are required to have a Black Bear Hunting Permit for the zone(s) they hunt in and a valid NJ hunting license. Five bear hunting zones are open to hunting; hunters are restricted to hunting only in the zone(s) for which they possess a permit. Hunters may possess permits for two separate zones. Permits are valid for the entire season (Segments A and B). In Segment A (October) use of bow or firearm is dependent on the day a person is hunting. A permit remains valid in Segment B if no bear is harvested with it in Segment A.

The season bag limit was increased to two bears in 2016, but only one bear per permit and per segment. Once a harvest is made, that permit is no longer valid. Hunters can initially purchase two permits for two different zones. If a permit is used (i.e. a bear harvested) in Segment A, a second permit for the same (or different) zone may be obtained for Segment B if available.

Permits are available at licence agents and online.

The NJ bear season will close if the harvest rate of bears tagged that year reaches 30%. In the event of a season closure, notification will be on the permit hotline number (609-292-9192), this page and via the NJ Hunting E-mail list. A season closure will become effective 24 hours from the daily legal closing time of the day on which the decision is made. In the event the bear harvest after Segment B does not meet a minimum of 20% harvest of bears tagged that year, the season may be extended four days during the following week in December.

2018 Regulations Summary (pdf, 235kb)
Detailed information about the 2018 season is found on pages 12 and 50-52 in the 2018-19 Hunting and Trapping Digest.

Bear Season Frequently Asked Questions
Black Bear Hunting Zones Maps and Descriptions

 

After Harvesting a Bear ó Mandatory Bear Check Requirement

Properly licensed hunters who harvest a black bear shall immediately complete and affix to the bear the "Black Bear Transportation Tag" from their Black Bear Hunting Permit. Information included on the black bear transportation tag shall include: the hunterís name, address, Conservation ID Number (CID#); date and time of kill; nearest road, county and municipality of kill; and the sex of the black bear.

Successful hunters must take the black bear to a designated check station by 9 p.m (October segment) and 7 p.m. (December segment) on the day of the kill. Hunters shall surrender the black bear transportation tag and will be issued a legal possession seal.

Any legally killed black bear recovered too late to be brought to a designated black bear check station before closing time above on the date of the kill must be reported immediately by telephone to the Bureau of Law Enforcement (908-735-8240). Hunters must provide their name, address and a telephone number where they can be reached on the telephone message recording device (if a Division representative is not available). Said black bear must be brought to a designated black bear check station the next day to be registered and to receive a legal possession seal. Hunters reporting bears to the law enforcement office after check stations close on Saturday will be contacted by a biologist on Sunday to legally check the bear and collect biological data on Sunday.

2017 HARVEST INFORMATION

Bear Hunting Zone Bears Harvested in Segment A, 2017 Segment A Total Bears Harvested in Segment B, 2017 Segment B Total Season Total
10/9 10/10 10/11 10/12 10/13 10/14 12/4 12/5 12/6 12/7 12/8 12/9 12/13 12/14 12/15 12/16
Zone 1 12 19 2 11 15 16 75 28 4 4 6 2 4 1 1 0 3 53 128
Zone 2 10 20 13 11 9 12 75 17 8 5 4 9 2 1 0 1 9 56 131
Zone 3 11 16 12 9 10 10 68 19 2 1 1 2 1 1 2 0 4 38 106
Zone 4 1 7 2 6 2 8 26 9 0 2 1 0 2 2 0 0 2 18 44
Zone 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 34 62 29 37 36 46 244 73 14 15 14 13 9 5 3 1 18 165 409
Harvested Bears
Tagged This Year
0 5 4 4 1 2 16 2 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 1 6 22
Cumulative Harvest Rate*
0% 3.7% 6.7% 9.6% 10.4% 11.9% 11.9% 13.3% 13.3% 13.3% 13.3% 14.1% 15.6% 15.6% 15.6% 15.6% 16.3% - 16.3%
*Based On 135 Tagged Bears Available for Harvest

Black Bear Harvest by County
County Bears Harvested in Segment A, 2017 Segment A Total Bears Harvested in Segment B, 2017 Segment B Total Season Total
10/9 10/10 10/11 10/12 10/13 10/14 12/4 12/5 12/6 12/7 12/8 12/9 12/13 12/14 12/15 12/16
Sussex 23 29 16 21 22 22 133 42 9 5 12 8 5 1 1 1 9 93 226
Warren 3 13 4 10 7 15 52 15 3 6 1 4 3 3 0 0 6 41 93
Passaic 0 5 5 2 4 3 19 7 2 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 14 33
Morris 8 14 4 3 2 5 36 9 0 2 0 1 1 1 1 0 2 17 53
Bergen 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Hunterdon 0 1 0 1 1 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
Somerset 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Mercer 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 34 62 29 37 36 46 244 73 14 15 14 13 9 5 3 1 18 165 409

PREVIOUS SEASONS HARVEST INFORMATION

RELATED PAGES

Frequently Asked Questions
Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy

Hunting Permit Information
Non-Resident Hunting Information
NJ Hunting License Information

Bear Facts - Black Bears in New Jersey

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Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: September 17, 2018