New Jersey residents, especially those in areas frequented by black bears, should take steps to avoid
attracting bears with food or garbage. This is the best way to prevent black bears from becoming a nuisance
near your home.
Some residents may observe black bears using yards as part of their natural
travel corridors. The mere presence of a black bear is not considered a problem. Generally, bears tend to be
wary of people. It is important not to leave out any food or garbage that may encourage bears to linger in
residential areas. One person feeding bears can create a problem bear that may affect the entire
Black bears learn very quickly and bears that are fed intentionally or
unintentionally by carelessly leaving out food or garbage will associate people with food. Bears will eat
almost anything including human food, garbage, pet food, birdseed and small livestock. Once they find an
easily accessible food source, like garbage in a housing development, they will lose their wariness of
people and may return to the available food source. These bears can become a nuisance or aggressive and may
have to be trapped and aversively conditioned or destroyed.
Remember: Never feed bears! It's illegal in New Jersey, and it's dangerous. Anyone feeding bears could face a penalty of up to $1,000
for each offense.
• If you live in an area with a large black bear population, close all windows and doors in your house
when you are cooking or you are away.
• Have a "Bear Plan" in place for children including the
use of whistles, air horns and an escape route.
• Consider installing motion sensor lighting to
try to frighten bears away if they enter your yard.
• Other items you can use to try to scare
bears out of your yard include air horns and banging pots and pans.
• Maintain a safe distance
when attempting to scare bears out of your yard. Try shouting, clapping, stomping the ground and making
other loud noises to deter bears.
• Refer to Bear Encounters
to know what to do if you encounter a bear at your home or while hiking or camping.
starting a Neighborhood Watch to keep residents alerted to bears in the area. A Watch can also help to
ensure that no one is intentionally or unintentionally feeding black bears. One person feeding bears can create a problem bear that may affect
the entire neighborhood.