Bear Spotted in South Brunswick
Bear sighted on Davidson Mill Road and Broadway road this weekend.
An annual rite of summer in South Brunswick began this weekend as a black bear was spotted roaming in a rural area of the township.
On Friday evening, a Patch reader said they saw a bear walking along Davidson Mill Road heading toward Pigeon Swamp. The bear was said to be a large male weighing approximately 300 lbs.
South Brunswick Police also received a call on Saturday reporting a bear on Broadway Road.
Patch reader Joseph Sapia photographed the wandering bruin and sent in the following note:
As I was driving on Davidson Mill Road, approaching the New Jersey Turnpike, I looked into the farmland to my right -- and saw a black bear, loping through the field.
My recent "Pine Barrens Around Helmetta" column, http://wildnewjersey.tv/2012/05/31/the-pine-barrens-around-helmetta-bears.aspx, explains bear movement this time of year.
While I would have expected a roaming bear in this area this time of year to be an approximately 100-pound male yearling, this bear looked bigger to me and to two women, who were also driving by. The women told me they had just seen the bear on the other side, the north side, of Davidson Mill Road.
So, it was traveling north to south on the west side of the Turnpike. Then, I watched it in the farm field heading east to west toward the woods. I first recall hearing of bear sightings in this general area about 30 years ago, but this was the first one I have seen locally and only the second I have seen randomly in New Jersey, the first being about two years ago in Northwest New Jersey in the Delaware River area north of Interstate 80, or within the state's "Bear Country."
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection issued some common sense steps for residents to take in order to reduce the risk of attracting bears, while enhancing public safety.
Most importantly is to not feed bears, intentionally or otherwise. Intentionally feeding black bears is illegal in New Jersey and punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 per offense.
A more commonly found problem is people unintentionally feeding bears, caused when homeowners unknowingly leave garbage, pet food and bird feed available for bears to find and eat, according to the DEP.
The DEP said bears eventually learn to associate food with people, their homes and their living areas. This association can lead to the bears becoming a nuisance by regularly foraging in neighborhoods because residences are seen as easy sources of food.
The State Division of Fish and Wildlife said that properly securing trash and eliminating anything else a bear may eat is one of the best ways to prevent them from being attracted to a residential area.
Wildlife experts also offered the following information:
- A black bear passing through a residential area should not be considered a problem, as long as it is behaving normally and not posing a threat.
- If you encounter a bear remain calm and do not run. Make sure the bear has an escape route. Avoid direct eye contact, back up slowly and speak with a low, assertive voice.
- Black bear attacks are extremely rare.
Residents are asked to report bear damage, nuisance behavior or aggressive bears to the Wildlife Control Unit of the DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife at 908-735-8793. Anyone spotting a bear should contact South Brunswick Police at 732-329-4646.