2017 SEASON DATES
Segment A, Archery: October 9 -14
Segment A, Archery and Muzzleloader: October 12-14
Segment B, Firearm: December 4-9
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The New Jersey black bear hunting season has been held concurrently with the Six-day Firearm Deer Season since 2010. Participants are required to have a Black Bear Hunting Zone Permit for the zone(s) they hunt in and a current hunting license. All hunters are reminded to observe the 450-foot "Safety Zone" distance around buildings and playgrounds when firearm hunting and the 150-foot distance when bow hunting.
Five bear hunting zones are open to hunting in New Jersey; hunters were restricted to hunting only in the zone(s) for which they possessed a permit. Hunters may possess permits for two separate zones; prior to 2016 hunters were limited to one black bear for the season.
Beginning in 2016 there are two segments to the bear season: Segment A in October, with the first three days (October 9-11, 2017) for archery only; the final three days (October 12-14) for both archery and muzzleloading rifle hunters. Segment B is for firearms only and is held concurrently with the Six-day Firearm Deer Season (December 4-9, 2017); there is the option for the season to be extended the following week if harvest objectives are not met.
The season bag limit was increased to two bears in 2016, but only one bear per permit and per segment. Once a harvest was made, that permit is no longer valid. Hunters can initially purchase two permits for two different zones, or a second permit for the same zone during Segment B if available. Permits are valid for the entire season (Segments A and B). In Segment A (October) use of bow or firearm is dependent on the day a person is hunting. Permits remained valid in Segment B if no bear is harvested with it in Segment A.
The NJ bear season will close if the harvest rate of bears tagged that year reaches 30%. In the event of a season closure, notification will be on the permit hotline number (609-292-9192), this page and via the NJ Hunting E-mail list. A season closure will become effective 24 hours from the daily legal closing time of the day on which the decision is made.
In the event the bear harvest in a given year (after Segment B) does not meet a minimum of 20% harvest of bears tagged that year, the season may be extended four days during the following week in December.
Detailed information about the 2017 season is found in the 2017-18 Hunting and Trapping Digest on pages 12 and 51-53 in the 2017-18 Hunting and Trapping Digest.
After Harvesting a Bear ó Mandatory Bear Check Requirement
Properly licensed hunters who harvest a black bear shall immediately complete and affix to the bear the "Black Bear Transportation Tag" from their Black Bear Hunting Permit. Information included on the black bear transportation tag shall include: the hunterís name, address, Conservation ID Number (CID#); date and time of kill; nearest road, county and municipality of kill; and the sex of the black bear.
Successful hunters must take the black bear to a designated check station by 9 p.m (October segment) and 7 p.m. (December segment) on the day of the kill. Hunters shall surrender the black bear transportation tag and will be issued a legal possession seal.
Any legally killed black bear recovered too late to be brought to a designated black bear check station before closing time above on the date of the kill must be reported immediately by telephone to the Northern Region Office of the Bureau of Law Enforcement (908-735-8240). Hunters must provide their name, address and a telephone number where they can be reached on the telephone message recording device (if a Division representative is not available). Said black bear must be brought to a designated black bear check station the next day to be registered and to receive a legal possession seal. Hunters reporting bears to the law enforcement office after check stations close on Saturday will be contacted by a biologist on Sunday to legally check the bear and collect biological data on Sunday.