300 Black Bears Expected to be ‘Harvested’ This Week

With the black bear hunt in effect in New Jersey, Director of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Gaming and Wildlife David Chanda told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that approximately 300 black bears are expected to be killed by the end of the week.

Chanda said that black bear hunting is not as easy as some people think. He said, for example, that yesterday someone came in with a 600-pound bear that took the hunter and his friends six hours to get out of the woods.

This hunt was started four years ago and was set up to control the population, but also keep a reasonable amount of bears in the state, Chanda said.

“We set up a very conservative hunting season and said we would not over harvest black bear. Our goal has always been to continue to keep a viable black bear population in the state,” Chanda said.

Chanda said that over the past five years, he has seen that people have started complying with suggestions to manage their properties in a way that does not attract the bears.

The hunt has been successful in slowly reducing the black bear population, according to Chanda. He said the population was 3,400 when the hunt program plan started and is now down to 2,600 to 2,800 bears. But he also said more work needs to be done.

“We still have a ways to go where we get the population down to levels where it is compatible to what people and the habitat can tolerate and support,” Chanda said.