There are about 2,800 to 3,000 black bears living in northern New Jersey, according to state Department of Environmental Protection. This is a reduction of about 400 bears since the state began a five-year Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy that includes an annual bear hunt, along with trash management and education. The policy was implemented in 2010.
The bear hunt is scheduled for next week, beginning Monday, December 3, and running to Saturday, December 8, concurrent with the state's firearm deer hunting season. More than 6,500 bear-hunting permits have been issued for 2012.
Reported bear sightings are down 34 percent this year, according to the DEP, with nuisance complaints down 26 percent and dangerous bear incidents down 43 percent. The northwest portion of the state -- a 1,000 square-mile hunting area north of I-78 and west of I-287 -- has one of the highest black bear densities in the nation, according the DEP.