A study commissioned by the state Division of Fish and Wildlife and performed by wildlife biologists at East Stroudsburg University estimated the number of bears in two study areas of northwest New Jersey at almost 3,500. There were 589 bears killed in the hunt, which is 17 percent of the population. In spite of the culling, biologists believe there will be at least 800 cubs born in winter dens and emerging next spring. In other words, the culling was designed to reduce the rate of black bear population growth. There will be more black bears next year but the number will more likely be about 3,700 instead of 4,300.
That’s an unbelievable number of bears for as small a habitat as New Jersey’s forested areas represent. But even if the bear population is still growing, the hunt will benefit New Jerseyans by culling the bears that are least fearful of humans, leaving the survivors being the ones who are adept at avoiding us.