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New Jersey's Black Bear Hunting Season


On August 11, 2015, the New Jersey Fish and Game Council voted 9-0 to accept the Proposed Amendments to the Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy and changes to bear hunting regulations. The vote came during the Council's regular meeting and followed a public comment period and formal public hearing in early June. Once Commissioner Bob Martin approves the policy, it will be published in the New Jersey Register and become law. (See the DEP Rules and Regulations site for the Notice of Rule Proposal and copy of the proposal).

Although the management policy goes into effect with publication in the Register, only one part of the hunt expansion provisions will take place this season. The option to add a four-day extension of the black bear hunting season (December 7-12 in 2015) to the following week if harvest objectives are not met during the regular season takes effect this year. Amendments related to an October archery and muzzleloader bear hunting season, and the ability to take two bears (one in October and one in December), will not take effect until 2016.

Bear Season is December 7-12, 2015

Bear Permit Application Period Open
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Lottery Information

Harvest Information
  2013 Harvest Data (age,weight, sex)

General Information

The New Jersey black bear hunting season has been held concurrently with the Six-day Firearm Deer Season (in 2015 the dates are December 7 through December 12) since 2010. Participants are required to have a Black Bear Hunting Area Permit for the area(s) they hunt in and a current Firearm or All-around Hunting License.

Beginning in 2015 a fifth bear hunting areas will be open to hunting in New Jersey; hunters are restricted to hunt only in the area(s) for which they possess a permit. Hunters may possess permits for two separate areas but are limited to one black bear for the season. Permits are awarded via a lottery; the lottery application period is September 15 to October 15 each year. Leftover and unclaimed permits are then sold at licence agents and online.

Detailed information about the 2015 season can be found on pages 58-59 in the 2015-16 Hunting and Trapping Digest. The Hunting and Trapping Digest is available in August each year.

Bear Season Frequently Asked Questions

Black Bear Hunting Areas Map and Descriptions

After Harvesting a Bear ó Mandatory Bear Check Requirement

Properly licensed hunters who harvest a black bear shall immediately complete and affix to the bear the "Black Bear Transportation Tag" from their Black Bear Hunting Permit. Information included on the black bear transportation tag shall include: the hunterís name, address, Conservation ID Number (CID#); date and time of kill; nearest road, county and municipality of kill; and the sex of the black bear.

Successful hunters must take the black bear to a designated check station by 7 p.m. on the day of the kill. Hunters shall surrender the black bear transportation tag and will be issued a legal possession seal.

Any legally killed black bear recovered too late to be brought to a designated black bear check station by 7 p.m. on the date of the kill must be reported immediately by telephone to the Northern Region Office of the Bureau of Law Enforcement (908-735-8240). Hunters must provide their name, address and a telephone number where they can be reached on the telephone message recording device (if a Division representative is not available). Said black bear must be brought to a designated black bear check station the next day to be registered and to receive a legal possession seal. Hunters reporting bears to the law enforcement office after check stations close on Saturday will be contacted by a biologist on Sunday to legally check the bear and collect biological data on Sunday.


Data is preliminary and subject to revision.

Black Bear Harvest by Bear Hunting Area
Bear Hunting Area Bears Harvested in 2014
12/8 12/9 12/10 12/11 12/12 12/13 Total
Area 1 37 5 5 6 14 12 79
Area 2 36 6 9 10 9 19 89
Area 3 40 7 6 7 13 4 77
Area 4 11 1 1 2 3 9 27
Total 124 19 21 25 39 44 272

Black Bear Harvest by County
County Bears Harvested in 2014
12/8 12/9 12/10 12/11 12/12 12/13 Total
Sussex 72 9 10 13 16 28 148
Warren 24 4 9 4 9 10 60
Morris 13 2 0 5 6 4 30
Passaic 10 4 2 2 8 1 27
Hunterdon 3 0 0 1 0 1 5
Bergen 2 0 0 0 0 0 2
Total 124 19 21 25 39 44 272




Frequently Asked Questions
Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy
Bear Recipe Guide (pdf, 98kb)

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 21, 2015