New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife Back to State of NJ Homepage Back to Fish and Wildlife Homepage Back to DEP Homepage 

April 23, 2002


For more information contact:
Al Ivany at 609-984-1795

As the weather continues to warm and black bears become more active in the Garden State, the Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife urges residents of North Jersey to "bear-proof" the areas around their residences.

"In the spring bears are leaving their dens, and in early summer breeding season occurs," said Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Bob McDowell. "These are the most active times of year for bears in New Jersey, and in order for residents of bear country to avoid conflicts with bears, certain rules must be followed."

The Division of Fish and Wildlife offers the following tips on "bear-proofing" and reducing problems associated with bears.

Use common sense in an encounter with a bear. Remain calm and never approach the animal. Make the bear aware of your presence by talking or clapping and always give it an escape route.

Store garbage in airtight containers in a secure area such as a basement or against the inside wall of a garage.

Feed outdoor pets during daylight hours only and remove all food scraps and food bowls immediately after feeding.

Hang birdfeeders at least 10 feet off the ground from a free hanging wire.

Protect beehives and livestock. Electric fencing is sometimes effective in preventing black bear damage.

NEVER FEED A BLACK BEAR. Bears that are fed either intentionally or unintentionally can become aggressive and dangerous, and may have to be destroyed.

Report aggressive bears immediately to the Division of Fish and Wildlife's Wildlife Services Unit at (908)-735-8793. Nuisance or damage problems caused by bears should also be reported to the same number.

To learn more about New Jersey's black bears, visit the Division's website at or call (908)-637-4125. Programs for schools and civic organizations are available free of charge, as are brochures and other materials on living in bear country.