Starting today, October 9th, the New Jersey Bear hunt is officially underway for the first time since fall of 2020. This hunt is divided into two distinct segments. From October 9th to the 14th, hunters are permitted to pursue black bears during the period extending from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset. It’s important to note that hunters are required to target bears weighing nothing less than 75 pounds, and hunting of cubs or bears in the presence of cubs is strictly prohibited. During the initial days of this segment, only archery equipment is allowed for hunting, but from the 12th to the 14th, the use of muzzleloader firearms is also permitted. The second hunting window falls between December 4th and 9th, during which only muzzleloader firearms may be employed for bear hunting.
While there are varying opinions on the necessity of these regulated week-long hunts, with some advocating for coexistence with bears, Governor Murphy, despite his initial campaign promise to ban such hunts, has approved the reinstatement of these bear hunts. This decision comes in light of a significant increase in the bear population, leading to a reversal of his previous stance.
For those seeking more details regarding permits and designated hunting zones, you can find comprehensive information on the NJ Department of Environmental Protection’s website at: https://dep.nj.gov/njfw/bears/bear-hunting-season-information/.