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NJ harvest totals released for black bears

From the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife

-- New Jersey has announced final results of the 2010 black bear hunting season Dec. 6 to 11, which was held concurrently with the 6-day firearm deer season open in the area north of Rt. I-78 and west of Rt. I-287. The hunting season resulted in a total legal harvest of 592 black bears.

The season is one component of the state's Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy, along with education, a bear feeding ban, aversive conditioning and other strategies. Hunters are required to check in harvested bears which provides a sample for population estimation purposes.

During 2010, division biologists and technicians tagged 333 bears in preparation for the season, of which 299 were available for harvest prior to the season opening.

Of these bears, 54 were harvested. Using this data, the population was estimated to be approximately 3,278 in the area open to hunting, a figure less than 4.8 percent to the previously estimate of  3,438 based on the East Stroudsburg University DNA study. The two estimates difference can be attributed to the different methods used to calculate the population estimates.

Harvested bears included those known to have been causing damage and nuisance. Of the 118 tagged bears harvested, 24 or 20 percent were known nuisance bears or bears tagged at nuisance sites, including two which had previously denned under residents' decks. The tag returns of harvested bears suggest that 20 percent of the harvest was nuisance bears.

Bears were harvested in 5 of the 7 counties open to black bear hunting. Sussex County led the harvest with a total of 338 bears, followed by 112 bears in Warren County, 59 bears in Passaic County, 82 bears in Morris County, and 1 bear in Bergen County. These results were expected by Division biologists, based on land area and bear density.

Hunters recorded bear harvests in 46 of the 105 municipalities open to black bear hunting, with West Milford Township, Passaic County, tallying the highest with 54 bears taken, followed by Vernon Township (50) and Walpack Township (50), both in Sussex County. Of the bears harvested, 243 (41 percent) were taken on private property, 233 (39 percent) on state property, 92 (16 percent) on federal property and 24 (4 percent) on county or municipal land.

Males made up 40 percent of the harvest (239) and females comprised 60 percent of the harvest (353), which is the same male/female ratio of the population observed through the research and control activities of division biologists.

The average field dressed weight of females over 1 year old was 179 pounds, with a range of 86 to 410 pounds. The average field dressed weight of male bears over 1 year old was 257 pounds with a range of 114 to 651 pounds. The largest adult male had an estimated live weight of over 750 pounds (651 pounds dressed) and was taken in Montville Township, Morris County.

No hunting accidents were reported during the season. The 2011 black bear hunting season is again scheduled concurrently with the 6-day firearm deer season, Dec. 5 to 10.

For more information on New Jersey's black bears: http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/bearfacts.htm.

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