Other states may have more black bears, but New Jersey has the densest black bear populations in the country, centered around the wild northwestern counties of the state, far from the Jersey Shore and Sopranoland. Bears raid garbage cans, eat pets and even burrow under houses and decks.

Next year will mark the last hunting season of New Jersey’s five year bear management plan. This year, hunters killed 251 bears. Harvest has been decreasing as bears become warier and the success rate has declined.

Even so, the hunt has reduced the population from 3,400 bears to an estimated 2,500-2,800.

State officials would like to see the population cut in half, and hope to continue the hunt after next year.