PEQUANNOCK, NJ (AP / CBSNewYork) – New Jersey wildlife officials say black bears are entering their most active period of the year as they search for food and mates.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell: Don’t Play Dead

That means encounters between the bruins and humans will become more likely, especially in northwestern areas.

Officials are reminding residents that feeding the bears is illegal and punishable by fines of up to $1,000.

They’re also urging people to secure trash cans and items such as pet food or bird seed that might attract bears.

“Bears get their food near homes from trash, from pet bowls (your cat or dog’s pet bowl), your bird feeders,” says Larry Ragonese of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

He says that if they do show up, they’re rarely aggressive.

“If a black bear should attack you, don’t play dead. You want to fight back,” he tells WCBS 880 reporter Peter Haskell. “You want to yell. You want to shout. You want to take some steps, grab a branch, do something. Be aggressive.”

New Jersey’s black bear population has grown in recent years, with bear sightings reported in all 21 counties.

It’s believed there are now more than 3,400 bears in New Jersey, with most living in the northwest corner of the state.

“That portion of [New] Jersey has more black bears per square mile than any other place in the U.S.” says Ragonese.
(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (14)
  1. HooDatIS? says:


  2. teacher Joey says:

    teacher Joey,
    A record number of bears have already been killed after just the second day of a six-day New Jersey statewide bruin hunt.

    A total of 386 bears were killed on Monday and Tuesday. The Department of Environmental Protection is expecting the number to climb — possibly as high as 700 or even 1,000 from the 7,800 permits for the first bear hunt since 2005.

    Hungry hunters and angry protesters in N.J. bear hunt

    Ledger Live for Tuesday December 7th, 2010 – Ledger Live with Brian Donohue. On today’s show: We take to the Jersey woods for the state’s first bear hunt in five years.

    First New Jersey bear hunt in five years
    The first black bear season in five years opened today in New Jersey. Hunters lined up at the Whittingham Wildlife Management Area in Fredon Township for the required check in of their bears. Also present were a group of protestors voicing their opposition to the hunters and the Division of Fish and Wildlife. Officials estimate the population of bears in New Jersey at 3,400. They anticipate a reduction of 300-400 animals by the end of the six day hunt. (Video by Andre Malok/The Star-Ledger)

    The total number of bears killed on this hunt depends upon a percentage of 300 select bears which were tagged this year. When 25 percent of those tagged bears are killed, the target has been reached, according to state officials.

  3. Smokey Bear says:

    Oh Sure, I bet we wouldn’t be warned like this if they were white bears. This is clearly racist in its tone and message….

    1. KPMc says:

      That.. was funny… thanks for bringing some levity to what is usually a contentious topic on CBS local. Race that is… not bears.

      1. Rodin says:


        But now brace for the attacks for treating a “contentious topic” with “levity”. (Not that a great number of the commentators on these pages would know what either “contentious” or “levity” means, you’ve used THE three buzzwords — black, white and race — in the same sentence. To hell with content and meaning!

  4. Rodin says:

    (not to be confused with “Rod In”)

    It’s what they do. We’ve invaded THEIR space.

  5. Rod in says:

    All those prejudices against bears in the comments here. PLEASE folks, if you love animals, teach your children to run up the bears and give them a hug. Enough hugs and the bears will realize that we’re just friends. Teach your children young. Go hug a nice little bear.

  6. Mad in Plaid says:

    I met some bears in San Francisco and they were very nice.

  7. Mr.. Philip Philips says:

    Go into jungles and get the young ones out at least let them live with us and learn our ways, How do you know if the dogs weren’t taken first, before they got wind of this great safe haven that man is, A bear is big and so is a big man they will harm if provoked ,So feed the big man well and he will be nice to you to even protact you ‘his bread winner’. Take them shopping perhaps to the supper market Let them buy what they want to eat and there you are a beary ball of fur as your best friend. The conservationist should think deeply on this. You dont send a criminal back into the jungle. It is food that is hard for them to find. but we take their lands. At least give them food and they will be happy with you.

  8. teacher Joey says:

    I agree with Rod, teach , love , and respect all bears, as they are having some of the toughest times in centuries, due to deforestation, climate change, habitat destruction, lack of natural foods…..and ofcourse our greediness to invade there
    natural living spaces. They are living breathing things just like us, as you might
    or might not know, you seen what happened to Knut the polar bear cub that was
    kept in a German zoo, they said it died from a brain hemmorage?

    Duh? Didn’t the zoologist know? I had read that Knut was suffering from depression , by always being picked on by the larger female bears.
    Bears have been here much longer than you or I, give them a chance to survive
    in our never ending world of greed…..

  9. Jae Wilcke says:

    I lived in Alaska for many years. We taught our children to respect bears. They are WILD animals. You do not hug bears.

  10. judy herzog says:

    North American Bear Center in Northern Minnesota. Learn the truth about Black Bears and how we can live with them.

  11. Rod in says:

    Stop this anti-bear prejudice already. Bears are nice huggable creatures. Teach your kids to hug bears before this prejudice takes over their minds.

    1. Jae Wilcke says:

      Jae Wilcke

      I lived in Alaska for many years. We taught our children to respect bears. They are WILD animals. You do not hug bears.

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