2003 Black Bear Hunting Season Results
According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife, a total legal harvest of 328 black bears were taken during the 2003 Black Bear Hunting Season that was scheduled to run concurrently with the 6-Day Firearm Buck Season, December 8-13. Bears were harvested in five of the seven counties open to black bear hunting.
Sussex County led the harvest with a total of 233 bears, followed by 48 bears in Warren County, 26 bears in Passaic County, 20 in Morris County, and one bear in Bergen County. These results were expected by Division biologists, based on land area and bear density. Hunters recorded bear harvests in 36 of the 105 municipalities open to black bear hunting with Vernon Township, Sussex County tallying the highest with 38 bears taken.
More than 80% of hunters utilized a shotgun to harvest their bear. Of the bears harvested, 137 (42%) were taken on private property, 117 (36%) on state property, 50 (15%) on federal property and 24 (7%) on county or municipal land.
The average field-dressed weight of females over one year old was 190 pounds with a range of 99 to 350 pounds. The largest adult female bear had an estimated live weight of 413 pounds (350 pounds dressed) and was taken in Frelinghuysen Township, Warren County. The average field dressed weight of male bears over one year old was 299 pounds with a range of 116 to 573 pounds. The largest adult male had an estimated live weight of 675 pounds (573 pounds dressed) and was taken in Green Township, Sussex County.
No hunting accidents were reported during the entire season.