NJ Department of Environmental Protection encourages everyone to eliminate potential food sources for black bears as they actively forage in preparation for the winter denning season. Take steps to avoid attracting bears with food or garbage to prevent black bears from becoming a nuisance near your home.
Avoid interactions with black bears. Property owners, hikers and campers should bear-proof residences and camps by removing or securing any potential food sources.
Black bears have been sighted in all of New Jersey’s 21 counties.
Never feed black bears to prevent them from learning to associate people with food. Intentionally feeding bears is illegal in New Jersey and carries a fine of up to $1,000.
Tips for property owners to minimize conflicts with bears (https://dep.nj.gov/njfw/bears/bear-facts-for-homeowners/):
- Secure trash and eliminate obvious sources of food.
- Use certified bear-resistant garbage containers or store all garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids and place them inside if possible.
- Wash garbage containers frequently. Put out garbage on collection day, not the night before. Avoid feeding birds when bears are active.
- Remove all uneaten food and food bowls used by pets fed outdoors.
- Clean outdoor grills and utensils to remove food and grease residue.
- Do not place meat or any sweet foods in compost piles.
- Remove fruit or nuts that fall from trees in your yard.
For safety tips for bear encounters, go to https://dep.nj.gov/njfw/bears/bear-encounters/.
Report black bear damage or aggressive bears to the police department or to Fish & Wildlife by calling 1-(877) WARN DEP (1-877-927-6337).
For more information about black bears in New Jersey, visit www.dep.nj.gov/njfw/bears/