DEP Commissioner Bob Martin recently posted the following recommendations regarding steps residents can take to reduce the risk of bad encounters with bears in populated areas:
With black bears now entering their most active period of the year as they search for food and mates, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin today urged residents to follow some simple precautions to reduce the risk of bad encounters with bruins.
"A black bear seen in a residential area should not be considered a problem, as long as it is behaving normally and not posing a threat," Commissioner Martin said. "However, bears that learn to associate food with people can become habituated to easy sources of food and become a nuisance as they forage for more. So the best thing to do is to not give bears the opportunity to equate you or your property with
"Naturally you should never feed a bear," Commissioner Martin said. "But the most common problem is bears feeding on garbage. Properly securing your garbage is one of the best ways to prevent bears from looking at your property as a food source."
Feeding a bear is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 per offense.
The proposed New Jersey Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy developed by the state's Fish and Game Council and approved by Commissioner Martin emphasizes managing black bears through research and monitoring, non-lethal and lethal control of problem bears, public education on co-existing with bears, law enforcement to reduce conflicts between bears and people, and a controlled hunt.