Bear Group


Bear advocacy is critical to ensure bears are permanently protected. Our education efforts will continue until all residents become Bear Smart champions. But we also need new activists to fight for bears! Please get this new information out to everyone you know.

The bear population is less than half of Fish & Game Council’s (“Council”) 2022 estimate. We are calling on the Murphy Administration to cancel the bear hunt!


  • Email Gov. Murphy
  • Tweet on X: @GovMurphy #SaveNJBears
  • Tell him to do the right thing and cancel the hunt. The “emergency,” the hunt, the population estimate, and the complaints were a sham that led to the deaths of 114 bears.

New talking points:

  • According to the Division of Fish and Wildlife, the bear population is 1,614, NOT the estimated 3,158 they stated during the “emergency” meeting in November 2022. In 2003, when the bear population was determined to be less than half of the estimated number, then Governor McGreevey canceled the 2004 hunt.
  • The Council can fool the governor and the DEP Commissioner, but the bears still have the public behind them. The public comment period showed that a whopping 83.7% of the comments received opposed the bear hunt. This is amazing considering the Division and Council tried their best for this number to be much lower by scheduling the comment period during the holidays and first month of Winter.
  • Careful analysis of the complaint increases used to justify an emergency hunt, showed that in many instances the raw numbers were much lower. From January to February 2022, Category I complaints totaled 4, up from 1 in 2021. The Council used this to say Category I complaints rose 300% in that month. From January to March 2022, 8 more total Category I calls led to them calling this an 800% increase.


  • Refute bear lies. Whenever and wherever (newspaper, social media, radio, etc.) you see lies about bears, please counter it by commenting or writing a letter to the editor. See more information below on letter writing.
  • Use these facts:
    • Bear hunts are cruel and do not reduce complaints or incidents.
    • Legislators who care about reducing bear incidents should support legislation that
      limits bears access to human food, such as the new feeding ban (below).
    • Bear Smart initiatives (education, garbage control, and other nonlethal methods) prevent incidents with bears. Visit Bear Smart for more information.
    • Complaints and incidents rise and fall during hunts as well as nonhunting years.
    • The number of bears do not correlate with increased incidents.
    • The number one cause of incidents is human behavior.
  • Support Priority Legislation: A new bill, S1891/A1967, which will strengthen the current feeding ban law, is designed to reduce bear complaints and incidents. Lobby your legislators to co-sponsor and support S1891/A1967. Use this Fact Sheet.
  • Get involved and STAY involved. Help us educate the public and support us financially so we can continue our work to permanently protect black bears. Contact us to join us at educational outreach events.

Write pro-bear letters to the editor

Letters have a huge impact on policy makers. For every person who writes a letter, they know thousands of others feel the same way. Letters are also free advertising for black bear protection in New Jersey. Keep your letters short. Use the points above and go here for more information. For a list of papers and contact email, click here. Let us know when you are published!

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Coalition to Protect New Jersey Black Bears

The Coalition is a broad group of state and national organizations dedicated to black bear protection. If you are interested in having your group join, please email us.

Coalition members: Animal Protection League of New Jersey, Bear Group, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of Animals United New Jersey, Humane Rescue Alliance/St. Hubert’s, The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, Jersey Shore Wildlife Rescue, League of Humane Voters of New Jersey, Lesniak Institute for American Leadership, New Jersey Voters for Animals, People for Animals, Inc., Sierra Club, New Jersey Chapter, South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter