Bear Hunting Regulations in New Jersey

Licensing and Permit Requirements

  • Must have a valid archery, firearm, or all-around sportsman hunting license.
  • Additionally, a Black Bear Hunting Permit is required.

Youth Hunter Supervision

  • Hunters aged 10-13 on/before Oct. 8, 2023, need adult supervision.
  • Supervising adult (21+) must also have a black bear permit.
  • Direct supervision: youth and adult must be at the same location.

Hunting Season Details

  • Two segments: Segment A (October) and Segment B (December).
  • Season bag limit: one bear per segment, up to two bears total with valid permits.

Apprentice License Holder Restriction

  • Cannot hunt black bear under the apprentice license program.
  • Bear hunting expertise exceeds the apprentice program's introductory level.

Restrictions on Harvesting

  • Cubs under 75 lbs live weight and their accompanying adults are protected.
  • Within 300 feet of baited areas, it’s illegal to take bears or have weapons.

Baiting Regulations

  • Baiting and hunting over bait banned on National Wildlife Refuges and Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
  • Landowner or agency consent required for bait placement elsewhere.

Hunter Orange Requirements

  • Firearm hunters: Must wear fluorescent orange hat or outer garment with 200 square inches visible from all sides.
  • Ground blind hunters must display 200 square inches of fluorescent orange material.
  • Archery hunters: Suggested to wear hunter orange during Segment A’s last three days.

Hunting Method Limitations

  • Use of dogs to hunt or chase bears is prohibited.
  • Legal hunting methods include stand, still, or drive hunting.
  • Taking bears from dens is unlawful.

Black Bear Hunting Permits

Permit Validity and Limitations

  • Permits are valid for both Segment A (October) and Segment B (December).
  • Hunters can hold a maximum of two unfilled permits at once for different zones.

Permit Usage

  • Unfilled Segment A permits remain valid for Segment B.
  • After harvesting in Segment A, the same zone permit can be re-purchased for Segment B starting Nov. 1, if available.
  • One-permit holders can use it in Segment B and buy a second for a different zone after Nov. 1.

Restriction on Additional Permits

  • If two permits are purchased before Segment A ends without a harvest, a third cannot be bought in November.

Sales Periods

  • Initial sales: 10 a.m. Sept. 11 to Oct. 14.
  • Secondary sales: Starting 10 a.m. Nov. 1, until season end or quotas met.

Purchasing Permits

  • Advised to buy during the early sales period.
  • Available at license agents or online.

Black Bear Hunting Seasons 2023–2024 in New Jersey

General Requirements

  • A valid firearm, archery, or all-around sportsman hunting license and a bear hunting permit are required.
  • Permits are zone-specific. Physical check-in of the bear is required post-harvest.

Segment A - Black Bear Hunting Season

  • Dates: October 9-14, 2023
  • Hours: ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset
  • Weapon Types:
    • Archery: October 9-14
    • Archery/Muzzleloader: October 12-14
  • Harvest Reporting: By 9 p.m. on day of harvest
  • Bag Limit: One bear over 75 lbs live weight

Segment B - Black Bear Hunting Season

  • Dates: December 4-9, 2023
  • Hours: Same as Segment A
  • Weapon Types:
    • Shotgun/Muzzleloader: December 4-9
  • Harvest Reporting: By 7 p.m. on day of harvest
  • Bag Limit: One bear over 75 lbs live weight (same for extension if authorized)

Segment B Extension

  • Dates: December 13-16, 2023 (If authorized, notification on December 11)
  • Hours: Same as previous segments
  • Weapon Types:
    • Shotgun/Muzzleloader: December 13-16
  • Harvest Reporting: Same as Segment B

Additional Regulations for All Segments

  • No hunting bears under 75 lbs (live weight) or accompanied by cubs under 75 lbs.
  • Hunting bear within 300 ft. of baited area not permitted.
  • One muzzleloader in possession allowed for bear hunting.
  • Wearing 200 square inches of fluorescent hunter orange required for firearm bear hunters.
  • Ground blind firearm bear hunters must comply with hunter orange regulations.
  • Bowhunters in tree stands encouraged to wear hunter orange during last three days of Segment A.

Firearms, Bows, and Ammunition Legal for Black Bear Hunting in New Jersey

Bow Hunting Details

  • Segment: A (Oct. 9-14, 2023)
  • Types: Long, recurve, compound, crossbow (single projectile only)
  • Draw Weight:
    • Long/Recurve: Min. 35 lbs at draw length
    • Compound: Min. 35 lbs peak weight
    • Crossbow: Min. 75 lbs draw weight
  • Projectiles: Sharpened metal broadhead, min. width 3/4"
  • Aids: Handheld releases allowed; light beam devices prohibited
  • Transport: Bows must be unnocked or uncocked

Muzzleloader Specifications

  • Segment: A (Oct. 12-14, 2023), B and Extension
  • Rifle Permit: Required
  • Types: Single-barrel, single-shot; flintlock, percussion, in-line
  • Caliber: Min. .44 caliber
  • Projectile: Single
  • Sights: Telescopic allowed; smokeless powder prohibited
  • Transport: Must be cased, unloaded (caps removed or powder emptied from pan and frizzen covered)

Shotgun Parameters

  • Segment: B and Extension
  • Types: Rifled bore; max. 3-slug capacity
  • Gauge: Min. 20 gauge and Max. 10 gauge
  • Projectile: Lead, lead alloy, copper, or sabot slug
  • Sights: Adjustable iron/peep or mounted scope permitted
  • Transport: Must be cased and unloaded

Mandatory Black Bear Check Requirement in New Jersey

Immediate Post-Harvest Procedure

  • Attach the "Black Bear Transportation Tag" from the permit to the bear hide immediately after harvest.
  • Fill out required information on the tag.

Required Transport Tag Details

  • Hunter’s name, address, Conservation ID number.
  • Date and time of harvest, nearest road, county, municipality.
  • Sex of the black bear (sex organs must remain intact).

Bear Quartering and Transport to Check Station

  • A bear may be quartered for removal from the field.
  • Possession seal issued at check station is mandatory.
  • Bears MUST be checked on the day of harvest at a designated check station.

Procedure for Late Recoveries

  • If the bear cannot reach a station by closing, report immediately by phone to (908) 735-8240.
  • Retain head and hide for next-day checking; ensure meat does not spoil.
  • Be prepared to show meat or records of its location within 48 hours upon request.

Post-Regular Season or Extension Harvests

  • Contact Law Enforcement recorder after hours; a biologist will assist with check-in.

For check station locations, hours, and detailed bear hunting information in New Jersey, visit NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife's Bear Hunting Section.

Mandatory Black Bear Check Stations in New Jersey

Notification of Season Extension

  • Check station updates for extensions announced on and through email/text alerts.

Operating Hours

  • Segment A: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Segment B: 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Check Station Locations

Warren County

  • Pequest Wildlife Management Area
    • Address: 605 Pequest Road, Oxford

Morris County

  • Black River Wildlife Management Area (Segment A only)
    • Address: 275 North Road, Chester
    • Note: Open only on Opening Day and Saturday of Segment A
  • Green Pond Golf Course
    • Address: 714 Green Pond Rd, Rt. 513, Rockaway

Sussex County

  • Flatbrook Roy WMA
    • Address: Rt. 615 (Walpack Rd.), Sandyston
    • Note: Open all week during Segment A; only on Opening Day and Saturday of Segment B
  • Whittingham WMA
    • Address: 148 Fredon-Springdale Rd., Newton

Black Bear Season Extension

Notification Process for Extension

Stay updated on any changes to black bear hunting season by checking official announcements and registering for updates.

Black Bear Management Zones in New Jersey

Reference Information

  • Management zone boundaries are provided for precise hunting regulations.

Zone Map and Descriptions

Use the official map to identify specific zones and adhere to the associated hunting guidelines for each area.

New Jersey Bear Hunting Laws and Regulations

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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.