114 bears killed in state hunt

SUSSEX COUNTY. About half of those were taken in Sussex County.

| 15 Dec 2022 | 10:31

The state black bear hunt concluded Saturday, Dec. 17 with 114 bears killed, including 59 in Sussex County.

Thirty bears were killed in Warren County, 15 in Morris, seven in Passaic, two in Warren and one in Somerset, according to data provided by New Jersey Fish & Wildlife, a part of the state Department of Environmental Protection.

In the state bear hunt in 2020, a total of 410 bears were killed with guns, including 190 in Sussex County.

During a separate 2020 hunt, in which hunters were permitted to use archery and muzzleloaders, 336 bears were killed.

Officials said the total this year was much smaller than two years ago because the hunt was not held Monday, Dec. 5, which had been advertised as the first day. Many hunters traditionally arrange to take off work for the first day of the hunt, they said.

In 2020, 50 bears were killed on the first day that hunters were permitted to use guns and 336 on the second day.

This year, a Superior Court judge issued a stay suspending the hunt Dec. 5. The next day, the Appellate Division lifted that stay, allowing the hunt to proceed. It started that afternoon and continued through Dec. 10.

After the first week, the hunt was extended for four days because the target number to be harvested was not reached.

The goal of the hunt was a minimum of 20 percent of the bears tagged this year. This year, the harvest rate was 7.1 percent, with 13 of the bears killed having been tagged.

Wildlife biologists affix tags to bears when one is handled for research purposes or is captured in response to a nuisance complaint.

In 2020, the harvest rate was 13.4% for the hunt using guns and 9.9 percent for the hunt using archery and muzzleloaders.

New Jersey’s bear hunting regulations say the hunting season must end when 30 percent of tagged bears have been killed.