|Following Governor Phil Murphy's Executive Order No. 34 (pdf), DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe has issued Administrative Order No. 2018-24 closing all DEP owned, managed or otherwise controlled lands to bear hunting during the October and December 2018 season segments. The closure includes, but is not limited to, the following: state forests, parks, recreation areas and natural areas; and wildlife management areas.
Administrative Order 2018-24 (pdf)
Segment A, Archery: October 8-13
Segment A, Archery and Muzzleloader: October 11-13
Segment B, Firearm: December 3-8; and 12-15 (if extended)
The New Jersey black bear hunting season has been held concurrently with the Six-day Firearm Deer Season since 2010. Beginning in 2016 there are two segments to the bear season: Segment A in October, with the first three days for archery only; the final three days for both archery and muzzleloading rifle hunters. Segment B is for firearms only and is held concurrently with the Six-day Firearm Deer Season ; there is the option for the season to be extended the following week if harvest objectives are not met.
Participants are required to have a Black Bear Hunting Permit for the zone(s) they hunt in and a valid NJ hunting license. Five bear hunting zones are open to hunting; hunters are restricted to hunting only in the zone(s) for which they possess a permit. Hunters may possess permits for two separate zones. Permits are valid for the entire season (Segments A and B). In Segment A (October) use of bow or firearm is dependent on the day a person is hunting. A permit remains valid in Segment B if no bear is harvested with it in Segment A.
The season bag limit was increased to two bears in 2016, but only one bear per permit and per segment. Once a harvest is made, that permit is no longer valid. Hunters can initially purchase two permits for two different zones. If a permit is used (i.e. a bear harvested) in Segment A, a second permit for the same (or different) zone may be obtained for Segment B if available.
The NJ bear season will close if the harvest rate of bears tagged that year reaches 30%. In the event of a season closure, notification will be on the permit hotline number (609-292-9192), this page and via the NJ Hunting E-mail list. A season closure will become effective 24 hours from the daily legal closing time of the day on which the decision is made. In the event the bear harvest after Segment B does not meet a minimum of 20% harvest of bears tagged that year, the season may be extended four days during the following week in December.
After Harvesting a Bear — 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 hunter’s 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 9 p.m (October segment) and 7 p.m. (December segment) 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 before closing time above on the date of the kill must be reported immediately by telephone to 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.
- Black Bear Check Stations
Check station access is for hunters checking in bears only.
Harvest data will be posted beginning opening day, October 8, 2018.
PREVIOUS SEASONS HARVEST INFORMATION
- 2017 Bear Season Harvest Information
- 2016 Bear Season Harvest Information
- 2015 Bear Season Harvest Information
- 2014 Bear Season Harvest Information
- 2013 Bear Season Harvest Information
- 2012 Bear Season Harvest Information
- 2011 Bear Season Harvest Information
- 2010 Black Bear Hunting Season Results
- 2005 Black Bear Hunting Season Results
- 2003 Black Bear Hunting Season Results