If you live in Hopatcong there is a very good chance you have seen a Black Bear. Is this something to be concerned about? That depends on you and your neighbors behavior toward the bears. Here is what you need to know about bears.
1) The bear population in NJ is somewhere around 3,000. Most live in Northern New Jersey. Yes this means Hopatcong.
2) Black bears can run up to 35 mph (record setting human sprinters have reached speeds up to 27mph). It is safe to say you cannot run away from a bear.
3) Bears are great swimmers. A lot better than we are.
4) Bears are excellent climbers. They climb trees for food and for protection when they get scared. They can also climb a lot faster than you can.
5) Bears eat plants, fruits, insects, small and mid-sized mammals and dead animals.
6) Bears give birth every other year to an average of 1-4 cubs. 3 being the average in northern NJ.
7) Male bears weigh between 400-600 lbs. Females average around 185 lbs.
8) Bears are not true hibernators during the winter. In other words you may see a bear if we get a hot spell.
9) Bears start to become active in March. This is when you may see them at your garbage cans. They mate in June. This is when you may see them passing through your yard. The most bear sightings are from March until November.
10) Feeding bears in New Jersey is illegal. If people feed the bears they are hurting the bears in the long run. When people feed bears, the bears are no longer afraid of humans. When this happens the bear must be conditioned. The police department has six trained officers for conditioning bears. What we will do is shoot the bear with rubber buckshot. Then as the bear runs from this we shoot pyrotechnics toward the bear. These are like fireworks exploding. This should make the bear afraid of humans again. If not we call in the division of Fish and Wildlife. They trap the bear to condition or destroy it. So please DO NOT feed the bears.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF A BEAR IN YOUR YARD IS DANGEROUS:
In the state of New Jersey there are 3 categories of Bears. Category I,II, and III. You can tell what category of bear it is by banging two pots together through an open window. If the bear doesnt leave from this noise you need to call the police. (973) 398-5000. If the bear does leave it is most likely a category III bear and is just passing through. Here is a breakdown of what determines the categories of bears:
CATEGORY I: BAD BEARS These bears must be destroyed.
· Bears that attack humans.
· Bears that attack livestock and pets.
· Bears that charge people, chase people, and come within 10 feet of people.
· Bears that cause $500.00 of damage to a house, shed, car or garage.
CATEGORY II: PROBLEM BEARS. These bears must be conditioned
· When the bear comes back again and again after you have taken away what the bear was eating.
· When the bear does not leave after you bang two pots together.
· Any property damage less than $500.00 to your house, shed, garage or car.
CATEGORY III: NORMAL BEARS. These are the majority encountered in Hopatcong
· Bears that are just passing through going from one section of woods to another.
· Bears in the woods seen while camping, hiking and hunting
· Bears that run away when people are present making noise.
· These bears may be at your bird feeder or garbage can but when they hear or see a human they leave.
HOW DO WE CO-EXIST WITH THE BEARS?
· Never feed the bears. It is illegal and carries a $1,000.00 fine
· Feeding dogs or cats outside should be done during the day. The food if any is left should be brought inside.
· Garbage cans should be cleaned out and not stored with garbage in them behind a garage door or shed (A hungry 600lb bear could easily break in a door).
· Feed birds by hanging the bird feeder with a wire at least 10 feet off of the ground. (bears are tall when they stand up).
· Clean the grill after using it.
· If you confront a bear back away slowly. Do not run nor stare the bear down. DO NOT play dead. Bears eat dead animals.
· If a bear walks towards you as you are backing up be as big as you can by waving your arms and yelling. Look for a rock or stick to defend yourself. If attacked fight for you life by poking the bears eyes or striking the bears nose.
· Do not get in between a female bear and its cubs.
TO LEARN MORE ON BEARS IN NEW JERSEY GO TO:
N J DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
BEARS OF HOPATCONG:
THESE FIRST TWO PICS ARE THE SAME BEAR TRYING TO GET THROUGH A YARD ON SPARTA RD. THE SECOND TWO PICS ARE ANOTHER BEAR TRAVELING WITH THE FIRST ONE AT THE SAME TIME. (BOTH BEARS ARE MALES AND ESTIMATED TO BE AROUND 450LBS BY A N.J. DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST). THE BOTTOM RIGHT PIC IS A DOG WHICH WAS TRAINED BY THE LOUISIANA DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE TO KEEP BEARS OFF OF A PROPERTY. I WOULD LIKE TO STRESS THAT THIS DOG WAS TRAINED. IF A DOG WERE TO CHARGE AT THE BEAR THE BEAR MIGHT RUN UP A TREE, RUN AWAY OR STAND HIS/HER GROUND AND ATTACK. THEREFORE, DO NOT LET YOUR OWN DOG OUT IF THERE IS A BEAR IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. THANK YOU JOSEPH CROUCH FOR SENDING US YOUR PICS.
THOUGH NOT BEARS OF HOPATCONG THE BELOW PICS ARE OF NEW JERSEY BEARS. THE DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE TRAPPED THESE BEARS, SEDATED THEM, DREW BLOOD SAMPLES FOR HEALTH DATA, TAGGED THEM AND TATOOED THEIR UPPER LIPS IN CASE THE TAGS FELL OUT. THIS IS DONE TO A FEW HUNDRED BEARS EVERY YEAR FOR POPULATION AND HEALTH DATA. WE WANTED TO SHOW YOU THEIR PEARLY WHITES! THANKS AGAIN JOESPH CROUCH
HERE IS A BEAR GOING AFTER A BIRD FEEDER ON BROOKLYN MTN RD. IN MAY 2005. THANK YOU MR. FILLMORE FOR THE PIC.
CAN YOU FIND THE BEAR BELOW?
HINT- LOOK AT THE TREE AT THE END OF THE DECK ON THE LEFT
Bears will take garbage and go somewhere nice to eat it. Like us bringing lunch to a park
Now that is a big bear. Maxim Drive 2012
On 10/25/13 this bear was next to Tulsa Trail School while school was in session. Patrols were able to move it along
Same Tulsa Trail bear that got scared and climed the tree.
FOR MORE INFORMATIN CONTACT THE N.J. DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE AT: www.njfishandwildlife.com