Bear Safety Tips

The NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife overs a free DVD, “Living with New Jersey Black Bears.” The video discusses the biology, habits and management of black bears in New Jersey and steps the public can take to better coexist with black bears. A 15-minute segment devoted solely to the management of black bears in New Jersey of the video can be viewed above.

The videos explore the growing national challenge of sharing the landscape with black bear populations and was developed with scientific input from wildlife experts. The video to educate New Jersey residents about co-existing with black bears and responsible management of the state's black bear population. For additional information on bears, visit the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Report a Bear sighting: 
  • Contact the Franklin Lakes Police Department, at 201-891-3131, whenever a bear is observed along a roadway or in a residential area. The Police Department’s protocol is to dispatch officers to each report of a bear sighting, assess the situation, and then take the level of action that is most appropriate to the existing circumstances.
  • In addition to contacting the Police Department, residents are encouraged to also contact the Department of Environmental Protection's hotline at 877-927-6337 and the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife at 609-292-2965 (Main Number – Trenton), 609-292-6685 (Wildlife Management Unit - Trenton), or 908-735-7040 (Wildlife Management Unit – Northern Region), as it is important for state officials to become fully aware of the frequency of black bear activity within the Borough.

Bear Safety Tips:

For additional information, visit the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife and Parks website at

Sightings of Black Bears have been reported in all 21 counties, the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife encourages residents to minimize conflicts with bears:

• Do Not Feed Black Bears.

• Secure your trash and eliminate obvious sources of food, such as pet food bowls, easy-to-reach bird feeders, or food residue left on barbecue grills.

• Use certified bear-resistant garbage containers if possible. Otherwise, store all garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids and place them along the inside walls of your garage, or in the basement, a sturdy shed or other secure area. For a list of companies that produce bear-resistant trash containers, visit

• Wash garbage containers frequently with a disinfectant solution to remove odors. Put out garbage on collection day, not the night before.

• Avoid feeding birds when bears are active. If you choose to feed birds, do so during daylight hours only and bring feeders indoors at night. Suspend birdfeeders from a free-hanging wire, making sure they are at least 10 feet off the ground. Clean up spilled seeds and shells daily.

• Do not place meat or any sweet foods in compost piles.

• Remove fruit or nuts that fall from trees in your yard.

• Install electric fencing as an effective way to protect crops, beehives and livestock. 

If you encounter a black bear in your neighborhood or outdoors while hiking or camping, follow these safety tips

• Remain calm. Never run from a bear. This may trigger its predatory instinct. Instead, slowly back away. Avoid direct eye contact, which may be perceived by a bear as a challenge. Make sure the bear has an escape route.

• To scare the bear away, make loud noises by yelling, using a whistle, banging pots and pans or blowing an air horn. Make yourself look as big as possible by waving your arms. If you are with someone else, stand close together with your arms raised above your head.

• Make bears aware of your presence by speaking in an assertive voice, singing, clapping your hands, or making other noises. If hiking through bear country, always make your presence known through loud talking or clapping of hands.

• If a bear enters your home, provide it with an escape route by propping doors open.

• The bear may utter a series of huffs, make popping jaw sounds by snapping its jaws and swatting the ground. These are warning signs that you are too close. Slowly back away and avoid direct eye contact. Do not run.

• If a bear stands on its hind legs or moves closer, it may be trying to get a better view or detect scents in the air. This is usually not a threatening behavior.

• Black bears will sometimes "bluff charge" when cornered, threatened or attempting to steal food. Stand your ground, avoid direct eye contact, then slowly back away and do not run.

• If the bear does not leave, you should move to a secure area such as a vehicle or a building.

• Families who live in areas frequented by black bears should have a “Bear Plan” in place for children, with an escape route and planned use of whistles and air horns.

• Black bear attacks are extremely rare. If a black bear does attack, fight back.

Report bear damage or nuisance behavior to your local police department or to the Division of Fish and Wildlife at (877) WARN DEP (877-927-6337).


Last updated Friday, April 26, 2024 12:42:36 PM