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FAQs For the NJ Black Bear Hunting Season

The following questions and answers pertain to New Jersey's black bear hunting season:

Q) Can I hunt both deer and black bear with a firearm at the same time provided I have the proper licenses and permits?
A) Yes, provided you follow the legal requirements for the specific firearm and ammunition for black bear hunting found in the Hunting Digest.

Q) Can I use buckshot for black bear hunting?
A) No. The only allowable shotgun ammunition is 20, 16, 12 and 10 gauge slugs.

Q) Can I use buckshot if I decide to only hunt deer on a given day or morning/afternoon?
A) Yes, but do not have your black bear hunting permit in your possession. If you are in possession of a black bear hunting permit while in possession of buckshot you are in violation of the law.

Q) If I have a black bear hunting permit can I take the buckshot out of my gun while deer hunting and load my gun with ammunition legal to hunt black bear if provided with the opportunity to shoot a black bear?
A) No, you can only carry ammunition that is legal to use for black bear hunting while in possession of a black bear permit.

Q) Can I use my muzzleloader to hunt black bear?
A) Yes, provided you are in possession of a valid Rifle Permit, Firearm or All-around Sportsman license, and a black bear hunting permit and using a single barrel rifle muzzleloader not smaller than .44 caliber.

Q) Can I use bait to hunt black bear if I am hunting from the ground?
A) Yes, but you must not be in any type of constructed blind. Baiting on National Wildlife Refuges and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is not permitted.

Q) Can I use bait to hunt black bear if I am hunting from an elevated stand?
A) Yes, but your elevated stand must be at least 300 feet from the bait.

Q) Can I black bear hunt from my elevated stand after harvesting a deer if the remains from field dressing the deer are within 300 feet of the elevated stand?
A) No, if the deer field dressing remains are within 300 feet that would be considered baiting and would not be legal. The only way to legally utilize the field dressing as bait and hunt within 300 feet would be to hunt from the ground provided you are not in a constructed blind.

Q) Can I shoot a female if it is with cubs?
A) Yes, you are encouraged to shoot the first black bear that presents you with a safe shot that will provide a quick clean kill. This is a management hunt and all year classes, male and female black bears are legal to harvest.

Q) Can I shoot a cub?
A) Yes, any sex or size black bear is legal to shoot.

Q) When I shoot a bear can I purchase a permit and shoot another black bear?
A) No, the season bag limit is one black bear per hunter, even if a permit for another area had previously been purchased.

Q) Where must I place the bear transportation tag after harvesting a black bear?
A) The completed transportation tag must be placed in the hide of the black bear.

Q) Can I quarter my black bear to transport it out of the woods?
A) Yes, provided that all of the parts are taken to the check station.

Q) Can I chase a black bear out of a den or off of an open nest to shoot it?
A) No. Black bear in dens or on an open nest are not legal to shoot and must be left undisturbed.

Q) Are sights needed on my shotgun to hunt black bear?
A) Yes, either an adjustable open iron or peep sight, or a scope, must be affixed to the shotgun.

Q) After harvesting a black bear can I use an ATV to carry my black bear to my vehicle?
A) Only if you hunt on private land and have secured permission of the landowner. ATV use on all state and federally owned properties is prohibited.

Q) Are still hunting and driving allowable methods to hunt black bear?
A) Yes, both methods of hunting is legal.

Q) How far must I be from a building or school playground to hunt with a firearm?
A) You must be outside the safety zone (pdf, 58kb) of at least 450 feet from a building or school playground unless you have written permission from the landowner in your possession.

Q) Can youth hunters hunt black bear?
A) Yes, provided they have a valid Youth Firearm Hunting License, Rifle Permit (if muzzleloader hunting), black bear hunting permit, and if between the ages of 10-13 be accompanied (i.e. under direct supervision at all times) by a properly licensed hunter age 21 or older also in possession of a valid bear permit. Holders of Youth Firearm Licenses age 14 and above are permitted to hunt black bear on their own.

Q) Can I legally shoot a black bear with tags or a radio collar?
A) Yes. If you are successful and harvest a bear with tags or a collar be sure to bring them to the check station with your bear.

Black Bear Hunting Season Information

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Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: August 8, 2013