The Department of Environmental Protection will increase nonlethal efforts to control human/black bear interaction, in the wake of closing state lands to the 2018 bear hunt.

Gov. Phil Murphy ordered state lands closed to the hunt this year.

The bear hunt is scheduled for Oct. 8 to Oct. 13,  and Dec. 3 to Dec. 8 with possibility of an extension to Dec. 12 to Dec. 15.

The DEP will assign additional Division of Fish and Wildlife Conservation Officers leading up to and during the hunt, a spokesperson said in a press release Tuesday.

The DEP will also provide bear-safety information to residents and hold a large regional training session for law enforcement officers on safe bear management techniques.

It will also form a team to work with counties and local governments to improve their waste management, so bears are not attracted to human food waste.

Last month, Governor Murphy issued an executive order prohibiting bear hunting on all state-owned land, including wildlife management areas, state parks, state forests and state natural areas. Hunting will still be allowed on designated private land, federal land, and county and municipal lands.

Black bears have been found in all 21 counties, but their population is densest in the northwestern part of the state, including Sussex, Warren, Passaic and Morris counties, according to DEP.

Report bear damage, nuisance behavior or aggressive bears to the Wildlife Control Unit of the DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife at 908-735-8793. During evenings and weekends, residents should call local police or the DEP Hotline at 877-WARN-DEP (877-927-6337).

  

Contact: 609-272-7219

mpost@pressofac.com

Twitter @MichelleBPost

Facebook.com/EnvironmentSouthJersey

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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