2005 Black Bear Hunting Season Results
Hunters harvested a total of 298 black bears during New Jersey’s six-day bear season last December, the Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife reported in its final results of the 2005 hunt.
Of the total harvested, there were 125 males and 173 were females. During the hunt, which ran concurrently with the six-day firearm buck season, sportsmen and sportswomen took bears in five of the seven counties open to black-bear hunting. The hunter success rate was 7 percent, and no accidents were reported.
Hunters killed 93 bears (30 percent of total) that had been tagged earlier by Division personnel; 49 of those bears were tagged during 2005. Nineteen of the tagged bears had been previously captured at nuisance sites. Seventy percent of the harvested bears were untagged, similar to the numbers that Division biologists handle in research activities.
The season produced a harvest rate of 20 percent, consistent with the Division’s strategy to reduce and stabilize the bear population. The sex ratio (42 percent male and 58 percent female) is also similar to that found in the wild in the Garden State. As Fish and Wildlife biologists predicted, the sex and age structure of the harvest matched that of bears captured during research and control activities.
Of the total harvested, 196 bears were killed in Sussex County, 43 in Warren County, 32 in Passaic County, 26 in Morris County and 1 in Bergen County. Hunters killed 129 bears in Zone 1, 58 in Zone 2, 103 in Zone 3 and 8 in Zone 4. Hunters recorded bear harvests in 31 of the 105 municipalities open to black-bear hunting; Sussex County’s Sandyston Township tallied the highest, with 36 bears taken. Division biologists also anticipated those results, based on land area and bear density.
Approximately 90 percent of the hunters used shotguns to harvest their bears. Of the total, 115 bears (39 percent) were taken on private property, 120 (40 percent) on state property, 44 (15 percent) on federal property and 19 (6 percent) on county or municipal land.
The average field-dressed weight of females over 1 year old was 161 pounds, with a range of 75 to 280 pounds. The largest adult female bear had an estimated live weight of 327 pounds (280 pounds dressed) and was taken in Montague Township, Sussex County.
The average field-dressed weight of male bears over 1 year old was 263 pounds, with a range of 90 to 632 pounds. The largest adult male had an estimated live weight of 739 pounds (632 pounds dressed) and was also taken in Montague Township.
Sixteen male bears taken by hunters had an estimated live weight of 500 pounds or more, including 4 weighing more than 600 pounds and 2 tipping the scales at more than 700 pounds.