Recent comments by Michael Schnackenberg about bear culling are full of suppositions, and “facts” are all wrong. Frank Santora in another letter corrected him as to the guns, garbage cans, history of bears in New Jersey etc. Schnackenberg calls 30% yearly bear population increase a complete myth lacking official count. In fact it is more than that. Fish and Wildlife biologists have calculated a 2020 population estimate of 3,158 bears for the region north of Interstate 78 and west of Interstate 287, which is an increase from the 2019 estimated population for this same region of 2,208.
This is a 43% increase in a single year. Here is the link: dep.nj.gov/njfw/bears/black-bear-biology-and-behavior.
It cannot be more official than that. Here is another data from the DEP: Sightings and nuisance reports about black bears more than doubled in New Jersey from 2019 through 2020. Their population also doubled in the last two years, figures show. In 2019, state residents reported 169 bear sightings, and a year later the number jumped to 349, according to Department of Environmental Protection figures.
During the same time, damage and nuisance reports involving black bears increased from 122 in 2019 to 268 in 2020, figures show. Sussex County, which has always had a black bear population, even when they were almost extirpated in the state, had the most reports in both 2019, with 274, and 2020, with 504.
I am not for reintroduction of wolves, mountain lions etc. in Sparta or Newton except maybe a couple of bears in Mr. Schnackenberg’s backyard to get him closer to the facts of life.