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New Jersey's Black Bear Hunting Season

 

All state lands, including all state forests, parks, recreation areas, historic sites, natural areas and wildlife management areas, were closed to hunting of black bears as of August 30, 2018 (per Administrative Order 2018-24) and will remain closed for the 2020 season.

2020 SEASON DATES
Segment A, Archery Only: October 12-14, 2020
Segment A, Archery and Muzzleloader: October 15-17, 2020
Segment B, Firearm Only: December 7-12; and 16-19, 2020 (if extended)
Legal Hunting Hours: ½ Hour Before Sunrise To ½ Hour After Sunset

Harvest Information
2016 Bear Hunter Survey Results (pdf, 225kb)

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).

There are two segments to the New Jersey black bear hunting 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 in December; the season will 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 is two bears, 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 Once a harvest is made, that permit is no longer valid.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 will be available at licence agents and online in September.

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 and announced.

In the event the bear harvest after Segment B does not meet a minimum of 20% harvest of bears tagged that year, the season will be extended four days during the following week in December.

2020 Regulations Summary (pdf, 900kb)
Detailed information about the 2020 season is found on pages 44-46 in the 2020-21 Hunting and Trapping Digest.

Bear Season Frequently Asked Questions

Bear Shot Placement Guide
Black Bear Hunting Zones Maps and Descriptions

 

After Harvesting a Bear — Mandatory Bear Check Requirement

Due to COVID-19, the mandatory bear check procedure has changed.

Bear check will NOT be available through the automated system.
Properly licensed hunters who harvest a black bear shall immediately complete and affix to the bear hide the Black Bear Transportation Tag from their Black Bear Hunting Permit. Information to report on the black bear transportation tag shall include:

  • Hunter's name, address, Conservation ID number
  • Date and time of kill
  • Nearest road
  • County and municipality of kill and the sex of the black bear.

When field dressing a black bear, leave the sex organs intact, attached to the body. A harvested black bear may be quartered and brought out of the field in sections.

Due to COVID-19, there will be no traditional bear check stations for the 2020 bear hunting season, yet there is still a physical checking requirement.

Successful hunters must call 908-735-0216 for instructions on mandatory check-in no later than 8:00 p.m. during Segment A or by 6:00 p.m. during Segment B. Hunters shall surrender the black bear transportation tag and will be issued a legal possession seal.

2019 HARVEST INFORMATION

Harvest data updated daily during season.
All data is preliminary and subject to revision.
Last updated 2:00 p.m., September 15, 2020.

Bear Hunting Zone Bears Harvested in Segment A, 2019 Segment A Total Bears Harvested in Segment B, 2019 Segment B Total Season Total
10/14 10/15 10/16 10/17 10/18 10/19 12/9 12/10 12/11 12/12 12/13 12/14 12/18 12/19 12/20 12/21
Zone 1 23 11 2 5 4 4 49 3 1 0 2 3 2 0 0 1 2 14 63
Zone 2 30 21 3 6 14 23 106 0 4 1 2 8 2 2 3 0 1 23 129
Zone 3 39 15 4 1 8 13 80 0 0 0 0 3 0 1 0 1 1 6 86
Zone 4 7 6 1 3 5 6 28 0 0 2 1 2 0 0 0 0 1 6 34
Zone 5 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 3
Total 108 53 10 15 31 48 265 3 5 3 5 16 5 3 3 2 5 50 315
Harvested Bears
Tagged This Year
7 4 0 2 2 3 18 0 0 1 1 2 0 0 1 0 0 5 23
Cumulative
Harvest Rate*
4.7% 7.3% 7.3% 8.7% 10% 12.0% 12.0% 12.0% 12.0% 12.7% 13.3% 14.6% 14.6% 14.6% 15.3% 15.3% 15.3% 3.3% 15.3%
*Based On 150 Tagged Bears Available for Harvest

Black Bear Harvest by County
County Bears Harvested in Segment A, 2019 Segment A Total Bears Harvested in Segment B, 2019 Segment B Total Season Total
10/14 10/15 10/16 10/17 10/18 10/19 12/9 12/10 12/11 12/12 12/13 12/14 12/18 12/19 12/20 12/21
Sussex 50 27 5 8 11 25 126 2 4 0 3 12 3 2 3 0 1 30 156
Warren 24 13 1 5 10 9 62 1 1 1 2 2 1 0 0 1 2 11 73
Passaic 9 5 2 0 4 5 25 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 27
Morris 25 8 0 1 6 5 45 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 4 49
Bergen 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 4
Hunterdon 0 0 1 1 0 3 5 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 6
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 108 53 10 15 31 48 265 3 5 3 5 16 5 3 3 2 5 50 315

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 15, 2020