Black bear hunting about to be legal in New Jersey

The Fish and Game Council unanimously approved lethal and non-lethal means to manage the black bear population.

Black bear in the woods

black bear in Boonton Township, New Jersey. (6abc)

New Jersey is moving closer to approving black bear hunting.

The Fish and Game Council on Wednesday unanimously approved “lethal and non-lethal” means to manage the Garden State’s bear population.

The proposal now awaits the approval of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette and Gov. Phil Murphy.

Under the plan, bears in Bergen, Hunterdon, Mercer, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, and Sussex counties can be hunted for a week in October and again for a week in December. If the population management goals aren’t met, officials will extend the season

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But, hunters will have some restrictions.

Killing any bear or cub under 75 pounds is prohibited. Also, hunting within 300 feet of a deer bait pile is not allowed.

Bear hunts were re-instituted last year, under an emergency, after a dramatic increase in the number of black bear damage and nuisance reports last fall.

Gov. Phil Murphy reversed his position on ending the practice.

Detractors have called the state’s methods outdated and suggested the public needs to learn how to live with the bears.

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