A New Jersey Senate committee will consider legislation Monday that’s intended to keep black bears from straying into populated areas as often.
State Sen. Ray Lesniak said his bill would ban hunters from placing bait to attract deer in towns located in black bear habitat.
“Feeding bears attracts bears into residential neighborhoods because they get used to eating different types of food that aren’t available where they would naturally live and stay,” said Lesniak, D-Union.
The bill would also require residents and municipalities in those areas to have bear-resistant trash containers.
Garbage is the most significant reason bears come out of the woods and into communities, Lesniak said.
“It poses danger for people, and it also poses danger for the bears,” he said. “It’s used as a justification to have a bear hunt every year that would be absolutely unnecessary if we adopted safe and sound garbage disposal practices.”
Lesniak is hoping to convince lawmakers to approve the measure.
“The opposition is the cost of the bear-resistant containers,” he said. “Municipalities have been able to pick up this cost in other areas of the state, and it’s certainly worth the one-time cost to protect the public.”