Morris County News

Press Releases

Black Bear Encounter This Fall


MORRIS COUNTY, NJ- With many Morris County residents now enjoying the fall hiking season, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is reminding those residents of ways to reduce black bear encounters, and offering tips should they come within close range of black bears in the county’s and region’s many natural areas.

The DEP’s advice follows a recent bear-human interaction at Ramapo Mountain State Forest in Bergen County, when a pair of hikers, including a 7-year-old boy, were closely followed by a potentially aggressive black bear at the forest.

A third park visitor also came within close proximity of the same bear, which stopped about 15 feet from the man and his dog and paced for several minutes before backing away, according to the visitor.

Sign Up for E-News

Black bears are found throughout Morris County and are often observed in some county parks. Most encounters will result with the bear running away but if it doesn’t leave, use common sense and never approach the bear. Do not attempt to take selfies with your phone camera.

If you see a bear, in particular one that does not show much fear, you are advised to immediately contact the Department of Environmental Protection’s hotline at 877-927-6337, or (877) WARN-DEP. If you encounter such a bear in a Morris County Park immediately contact the Park Police at 973-326-7654.

In most cases, encounters between people and black bears end without incident. However, black bears are wild animals and the Division of Fish and Wildlife reminds the public that it is very important for people who live in or visit New Jersey’s bear country – which includes Morris County -- to be alert to their presence, especially when hiking.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife offers the following tips when hiking in bear country:

  • Never feed or approach a bear.
  • Make your presence on the trail known by speaking loudly, singing, clapping your hands, or making other noises.
  • Remain calm if you encounter a bear. DO NOT RUN FROM IT. Do not make direct eye contact with the bear, as this may be perceived as a challenge. SLOWLY BACK AWAY.
  • Make sure the bear has an escape route.
  • If the bear continues to follow you or is otherwise undeterred, make loud noises by yelling, blow a whistle, bang pots and pans, or use an air horn, if available. 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.
  • 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. It is usually not a threatening behavior.
  • The bear may utter a series of huffs, make popping jaw sounds by snapping its jaws and swat the ground. These are warning signs that you are too close. Slowly back away, avoid direct eye contact and do not run.


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.

Black bear attacks are extremely rare. However, if one does attack, fight back. Do not “play dead.”


In addition, 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.


The Division of Fish and Wildlife offers these other important rules to help minimize conflicts with black bears:

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


  • Invest in certified bear-resistant garbage containers, which offer the best protection.  If not using bear-proof garbage containers, store all garbage in containers with tight fitting lids in a secure area where bears are unlikely to see or smell them, such as a basement or the inside wall of a garage.


  • Business owners should contact their sanitation company to acquire a bear resistant dumpster if they are having issues with black bears.


  • Use electric fencing to protect livestock and beehives. It is the most effective and efficient way to prevent bear damage. A properly installed and baited electric fence not only deters bears, but teaches them to keep away.


  • Put garbage out on collection day, not the evening before.


  • Wash garbage and recycling containers with a disinfectant at least once a week to reduce odors.
  • Draping an ammonia- or bleach-soaked cloth over containers will help to eliminate odors.
  • Do not place meat or sweet food scraps in compost piles.
  • Feed birds only from December 1 to April 1, when bears are least active.
  • Feed outdoor pets during daylight hours only. Immediately remove all food scraps and bowls after feeding.
  • Clean outdoor grills thoroughly after each use. Grease and food residue can attract bears.
  • Do not leave food unattended while camping or picnicking.


For more information on black bear behavior, biology and tips, visit:








TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


More Than Just Kindness for Roxbury Student Adored by Tragically Killed Boy

April 17, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ – She lost her 10-year-old son three years ago in a boating accident on Lake Hopatcong, but Laurie D’Amico is sure her beloved Christopher speaks to her all the time. It’s subtle but firm, she says; messages that come as sparks of recollection, inspiration or intuition.

One of those unexpected inklings led Laura and her husband Chris to a jewelry ...

Lake Hopatcong 'Floating Classroom' Launched at Roxbury

April 13, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ – The Lake Hopatcong Foundation on Wednesday launched onto Lake Hopatcong its long-awaited "floating classroom" educational vessel. The launch took place at Lake Hopatcong State Park in Landing.

The 40-foot covered catamaran pontoon boat seats 40. It will be used to teach area students and the public about Lake Hopatcong. The boat, built by ...

New Jersey Fashion Companies Capitalize on State Resources to Grow

April 19, 2018

NJ Business Action Center recently assisted Adore Me and Better Team USA to identify space and financing.

The U.S. apparel market is the largest in the world, valued at over 360 billion dollars. However, the market has been disrupted by the rise of e-commerce, and is moving beyond established locations like NYC’s garment district. 

That said, like every industry, fashion ...

GFWC Woman's Club Participates in Denville Rid Litter Day

April 22, 2018

GFWC Woman’s Club- Denville/Rockaway Participates in Denville PRIDE Rid Litter Day

Close to 400 volunteers came out on a lovely, but windy Saturday to participate in Denville Township’s annual PRIDE, Rid Litter Day.  The timing was perfect, as it also coincides with the 48th anniversary of Earth Day! Earth Day is an annual event created to celebrate the planet's ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, April 28, 8:00 AM

College of St. Elizabeth, Morristown

Conference and Resource Fair Promotes Advocacy ...

Education Giving Back

Sat, April 28, 8:00 PM

250 Speedwell Ave, Morris

Wendy's Shadow

Arts & Entertainment

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse


MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (Citadel Press, 1970)


How does a reviewer do justice to a book called “the great American novel”? I first read Johnny Got His Gun during the Viet Nam war, when young people, nationwide, were protesting fighting in a war that was a senseless waste of life; a war in which the United States had no business participating.

The Truth About My Reading

The Truth About My Reading

I didn't get my Composition and Literature teacher at Montclair State College at all. A crusty old man with a dour disposition, Mr. Smith always seemed angry and rude. He appropriately intimidated freshmen, even me, an English major, who found this common core course beneath my dignity. Frankly, as a graduate of Highland Park High School, and a survivor of Mrs.