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Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy

On August 11, 2015, the New Jersey Fish and Game Council voted 9-0 to accept the Proposed Amendments to the Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy and changes to bear hunting regulations. The vote came during the Council's regular meeting and followed a public comment period and formal public hearing in early June. Commissioner Bob Martin approved the policy, and it was published in the New Jersey Register on November 16, 2015 and become law. (See the DEP Rules and Regulations site for the Notice of Rule Proposal and copy of the proposal).

Although the management policy went into effect with publication in the Register, only one part of the hunt expansion provisions will take place this season. The option to add a four-day extension of the black bear hunting season (December 7-12 in 2015) can be added to the following week if harvest objectives are not met during the regular season take effect this year. Amendments related to an October archery and muzzleloader bear hunting season, and the ability to take two bears (one in October and one in December), will not take effect until 2016.

New Jersey Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy, 2015 (pdf, 330kb)

Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy Adopted - DEP News Release, 11/16/15
Adoption Document: Game Code NJAC 7:25-5.6 and 5.24 Black Bear (pdf, DEP Rules Site)

The Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy (Policy) defines the New Jersey Fish and Game Council’s policy and recommendations regarding the management of resident black bears. The original Policy was developed in 2010 by the Council’s Game Committee with the assistance of Division of Fish and Wildlife staff.



At its March 9, 2010, meeting, the Council voted to accept the Game Committee’s draft Policy, which was the first step in the process to adopt a comprehensive black bear management policy.

The next step was DEP Commissioner Bob Martin’s review and consideration of the Policy. Upon his acceptance of the Policy on March 17, 2010, it became a proposed Policy that was published in the New Jersey Register on April 19, 2010.

The Register publication date was the start of a 60-day public comment period which included a public hearing on May 11 at 6 p.m. at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton. After the close of the public comment period on June 18, 2010, the Council and the Commissioner reviewed the comments. The Fish and Game Council voted to adopt the Policy at its July 13, 2010 meeting.

On July 21, 2010, Commissioner Martin approved the Bear Management Policy. An adoption document was published in the New Jersey Register, and the policy became effective upon publication.


New Jersey Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy, 2010 (pdf, 415kb)
   2010 Policy Public Comments Summary (pdf, 15kb)

New Jersey Black Bear Aversive Conditioning Report (pdf, 7.6mb)
   Report Abstract (pdf, 10kb)

Evaluation of Genetic Structure and Population Estimate in New Jersey Black Bears (pdf, 415kb)
   Evaluation Abstract (pdf, 26kb)

Bear Complaints Summary 2006-2010 (pdf, 10kb)

Bear Education Materials and Public Programs Summary, 2007-2017 (pdf, 35kb)

Black Bear Management and Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy FAQs

Bear Facts - Black Bears in New Jersey

Notice of NJ Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy Rule Adoption - DEP Rules Adoption Site, 11/15/10
Letter of Appeal of Bear Policy/Stay of Bear Season Request - 11/17/10 (pdf, 107kb)
   Commissioner Martin Response to Request for Stay of Bear Season - 11/22/10 (pdf, 215kb)

State Appeals Court Dismisses Challenge to Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy - DEP New Release, 12/1/11
   Court Ruling on Validiity of the Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy (pdf, 120kb)


Literature Cited in the NJ Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy

The documents listed below are cited in the New Jersey Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy. Documents are in PDF format with file size provided. Clicking on "PDF" will open the document in a new window or tab.

Beaver, B.V., W. Reed , S. Leary, et. al. 2001. Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 218 (5):669-696. (PDF, 158kb)

Beckmann, J. P., C. W. Lackey, and J. Berger. 2004. Evaluation of deterrent techniques and dogs to alter behavior of ''nuisance'' black bears. Wildlife Society Bulletin 32:1141-1146. (PDF, 140kb)

Burke, D. and S. Predl. 1990. An assessment of deer hunting in New Jersey. NJ DEP, DFW. 150 pp. Trenton, NJ.

California Final Environmental Document, Section 265, 365, 367, 367.5, Title 14, California Code of Regulations Regarding Bear Hunting. April 27, 2000. CA Department of Fish and Game, 188 pp. + Appendices.

Carr, P.C. and K. Burguess. 2004. New Jersey status report. NJ DEP, DFW. 24 pp. Trenton, NJ. (PDF, 405kb)

Conover, M.R. 2001. Effect of hunting and trapping on wildlife damage. Wildlife Society Bulletin 29(2):521-532. (PDF, 2.6mb)

DeNicola, A. 2004. Experimental control of a suburban population of white-tailed deer using immunocontraception. Interim Summary Report for Princeton Township, NJ, Year 2. 8 pp. (PDF, 30kb)

Diefenbach, D.R. 2006. Black Bear Population Estimates for New Jersey, 2003 and 2005. PA Coop. Fish and Wildl. Res. Unit, Pennsylvania State Univ., Univ. Park, PA. 5 pp. (PDF, 20kb)

Fagerstone, K.A., M.A. Coffey, P.D. Curtis, R.A. Dolbeer, G.J. Killian, L.A. Miller, and L.M. Wilmot. 2002. Wildlife Fertility Control. Wildl. Soc. Tech. Rev. 02-2. 29 pp.

Frakker, M.A., P.D. Curtis, and M. Mansour 2006. An Analysis of the Feasibility of Using Fertility Control to Manage New Jersey Black Bear Populations. 44 pages.:

Garshelis, D.L. 2002. Misconceptions, ironies, and uncertainties regarding trends in bear populations. Ursus 13:321-334. (PDF, 775kb)

Gore, M.L. and B.A. Knuth. 2006. Attitude and Behavior Change Associated With the New York NeighBEARhood Watch Program. Cornell University Human Dimensions Research Unit (06-14). (PDF, 1.2mb)

Gore, M.L., B.A. Knuth, P.D. Curtis and J.E. Shanahan. 2006. Education programs for reducing American black bear-human conflict: indicators of success? Ursus 17(1):75-80. (PDF, 84kb)

Hobbs, N.T., D.C. Bowden, and D.L. Baker. 2000. Effects of fertility control on poplations of ungulates: general, stage-structured models. Journ. Wildl. Manage. 64(2):473-491. (PDF, 770kb)

Huffman, J.E., T. Ombrello and D. Zellner. 2010. Evaluation of Genetic Structure and Population Estimate in New Jersey Black Bears Northeast Wildlife. DNA Laboratory, East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg, PA. 27 pp. (PDF, 415kb)

Kurzejeski, E.W., J.L. Byford, K. Causey, J.W. Enck, L.P. Hansen, W. Krueger, K. Mayer, and K. McCaffery. 1999. The Role of Bowhunting in Wildlife Management. Wildl. Soc. Tech. Rev. 99-1, 15 pp.

Leigh, J. and M.J. Chamberlain. 2008. Effects of aversive conditioning on behavior of nuisance Louisiana black bears. Human-Wildlife Conflicts 2(2):175-182. (PDF, 545kb)

Lund, R.C. 1980. New Jersey status report. Proc. East. Black Bear Workshop. 5:6-7.

Lund, R.C., P. McConnell and S. Smyser. 1981. Restoration of the Black Bear to the New Jersey Pine Barrens-A discussion of the Proposal and Assessment of Impacts. NJ DEP, DFGW, BWM. 27 pp. Trenton, NJ. (PDF, 482kb)

MacKenzie, K.G. 2003. Nuisance vs. non-nuisance bears: Seasonal movement and home range utilization of female New Jersey black bears (Ursus americanus). M.S. Thesis. East Stroudsburg State University, East Stroudsburg, PA. 108 pp.

Mazur, R. L. 2010. Does Aversive Conditioning Reduce Human-Black Bear Conflict? Journal of Wildlife Management 74(1):48-54. (PDF, 265kb)

McBride, A.E. 2003. Wild Turkey Research Project Report. NJ DEP, DFW. 64 pp. Trenton, NJ. (PDF, 127kb)

McConnell, P.A., J.R. Garris, E. Pehek and J.L. Powers. 1997. Black Bear Management Plan. NJ Div. of Fish, Game & Wildl. 115 pp. Trenton, NJ. (PDF, 485kb)

McLaughlin, C.R., G.J. Matula, and J.H. Hunt. 1987. A draft habitat suitability index model for black bears in the conifer-deciduous forests of New England: its application in Maine. Maine Dept. Inland Fish. & Wildl. Augusta, ME. 44 pp.

Muller, L.I., R.J. Warren, and D.L. Evans. 1997. Theory and practice of immunocontraception in wild mammals. Wildlife Society Bulletin 25(2):504-514. (PDF, 2.5mb)

Niles, L.J., M. Valent, P. Winkler and P. Woerner. 2004. New Jersey's Landscape Project, Version 2.0. NJ DEP, DFW, ENSP. 56 pp. Trenton, NJ.

NJDFW BWM 2000. Black Bear Rating and Response Criteria. NJDEP DFW. Trenton, NJ 4 pp.

NJDEP. 2003. New Jersey Independent Bear Panel Report. NJ DEP. Trenton, NJ. 17 pp. (PDF, 560kb)

Northeast Wildlife DNA Laboratory. 2010. New Jersey black bear aversive conditioning report. East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg, PA. 68 pp. (PDF, 7.6mb)

Rogers, L.L. and A.W. Allen. 1987. Habitat suitability index models: Black Bear, Upper Great Lakes Region. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Report 82 (10.144). 54 pp. (PDF, 2.3mb)

Ternent, M. A. 2006. Management Plan for Black Bear in Pennsylvania (2006-2015). PA Game Commission, Harrisburg, PA. 73 pp. (PDF, 1.1mb)

USDA WS WI 2002. Environmental Assessment: Black bear nuisance and damage management in Wisconsin. Decision and Finding of No Significant Impact. U.S. Department of Agriculture-APHIS-Wildlife Services. May 10, 2002. 60 pp. (PDF, 4.2mb)

Walters, C. 1986. Adaptive management. MacMillan Publishing Co. NY. 374 pp.

Williamson, D.F. 2002. In the Black: Status, Management, and Trade of the American black bear (Ursus americanus) in North America. TRAFFIC North America. Washington, DC: World Wildlife Fund. 161 pp. (PDF, 2.0mb)

Wolgast, L.J., W.S. Ellis and J. Vreeland. 2005: Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy: and (pdf, 6.5mb)
and DEP letters: (pdf, 13kb) and (pdf, 480kb).

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Department of Environmental Protection
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Last Updated: December 12, 2017