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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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April 13, 2004

Contact: Elaine Makatura

DEP Urges Bear Country Residents to Be Aware

(04/34) TRENTON - Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell urges residents of North Jersey to bear-proof the areas around their residences to prevent bear intrusions. As the weather continues to warm, black bears become more active searching for food and mates.

"Knowing how to prevent bears from coming close to your home is the first step toward safety," said Campbell. "One of the best ways to discourage nuisance bears is by storing garbage properly. Bears come out of their dens in spring and early summer so precautionary measures must be taken now."

  • NEVER FEED A BLACK BEAR! It's dangerous and against the law.
    Violators could face a penalty of up to a $1,000 for each offense.

  • Remember that reducing problems with bears is a community effort.

  • Invest in bear-proof garbage containers. Store all garbage in airtight containers with tight fitting lids in a secure area such as a basement, the inside wall of a garage, or a shed.

  • Wash garbage containers frequently with a disinfectant at least once a week to eliminate odors. Draping bleach-soaked cloth over containers will also help to eliminate odors.

  • Put garbage out on collection day, not the evening before.

  • Do not place meat or sweet food scraps in compost piles.

  • Feed birds from December 1, through April 1, when bears are least active.

  • Suspend birdfeeders at least 10 feet off the ground. Clean up spilled seeds and shells daily.

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

  • Clean outdoor grills thoroughly after each use. Grease and food residue can attract bears.

  • Report bear damage or nuisance behavior to the local police department or to the DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife at (908) 735-8793.

To learn more about New Jersey's black bears, visit the department's website at






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