The regulations and dates have been already established by the state Division of Fish and Wildlife regarding the first state archery bear hunt which will take place this fall.
The bear season will start on October 10th limited to only archery in the first three days. Muzzleloaders will be allowed from October 13th to 15th. The regular firearm season will take place from December 5th to 10th and will coincide with the shotgun deer season which will also last six days.
Furthermore, the bear season will be held at the same time with the archery deer season. However, depending on deer management unit, the archery deer season might begin a little earlier in September. Regarding the regulations, the season bag limit will be two bears, but only one bear per segment and per permit.
If a bear has been taken, the permit will become invalid for a second bear. The only option for a hunter would be to purchase two permits for two different areas or a second permit for the same area but during the firearm season only if permits will be available for purchasing.
There will be no permit lottery this year. All of them will be on sale online or at license agents starting from September 12th at 10 a.m. Depending on the number of bears taken, the season might be extended or cut short. The bear hunt season was extended with the maximum four days in December 2015 and led to the second most bears killed since 2003.
Only one hunt was allowed again in 2005. But in 2010, the courts approved a black bear state policy that allowed hunting seasons every year. The archery/muzzleloader season was approved in 2015 starting with 2016.
A huge number of 510 black bears were killed in 2015, second to the 2010 season when 592 were taken. The most hunted bears always came from Sussex County. In 2010, 338 bears were killed in Sussex whereas 312 were taken in 2015. Only Warren County had more bears killed in 2012.
If 30 percent of the tagged bears are killed, the hunt will be closed according to the policy, so the season might only last until the end of October. However, if the bears taken are less than 20 percent of the total tagged bears, the season will be extended with four extra days in December.