April, 2023

Dear Resident,

Bear sightings have been reported in our area and surrounding towns. I am reaching out with information so we can work together to avoid attracting bears, and to be prepared should an encounter occur.

The best way to keep bears away is to avoid attracting them with food or garbage. Black bears learn very quickly and bears that are fed intentionally or unintentionally by leaving out food or garbage will associate people with food. Bears will eat almost anything including human food, garbage, pet food, birdseed and small livestock. One person feeding a bear can create a problem for the entire neighborhood. 

Black bears by nature tend to be wary of people. If you are indoors, stay there and call the Police at 732-536-0100 or the DEP hotline at 877-927-6337 (877-WARN DEP). 

If you encounter a black bear while outdoors, follow these safety tips:
     • Do not feed bears, leave food/garbage out, or approach a bear. 
     • Remain calm if you encounter a bear. Do not run from it; running may trigger a chase response.
     • If you encounter a bear that is feeding, do not approach it and slowly back away. A bear on a food source will aggressively defend it.
     • If you are outside and from a safe distance, make the bear aware of your presence by speaking in an assertive voice, singing, clapping your hands, or making other noises. Use an air horn, bang posts, yell, etc. 
     • Make sure the bear has an escape route. Don’t trap the bear. 
     • Avoid direct eye contact, which may be perceived by a bear as a challenge. Never run from a bear. Instead, slowly back away.
     • 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.
     • 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.
     • 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.
     • 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.
     • Pairs or groups of people should stay together and perform these actions as a unit when they encounter a bear; do not separate and do not move in different directions.

  • Black bear attacks are extremely rare. If a black bear does attack, fight back! Aim for the snout and/or eyes. Use anything at hand: (knife, sticks, rocks, binoculars, backpack or kick the bear.)

You can read more about bear safety tips, how to avoid attracting bears and what to do if you do have an encounter on the State DEP website:

Bears are often using the woods or backyards as a pass through and are not a threat.  However, I encourage residents to be prepared.  Please review the safety tips in this letter and on the DEP website with your family.

Stay safe,

Mayor Jon Hornik