New Jersey

Black Bear Eludes NJ Officials as Hunting Season Begins

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On the first day of New Jersey's annual bear hunt, one black bear continued to skirt Fish and Wildlife officials and local police who are trying to move the cub out of a Hudson County residential neighborhood.

Residents in Kearny, a town just 13 miles from Manhattan, spotted the bear snoozing in a tree on Monday but the creature was first seen around Harrison on Saturday, according to police. The bear's presence alarmed neighbors who couldn't believe what they were seeing in their backyard.

"I look out the window and there he is, yogi the bear sitting right there stretching out," said Mike Rychel.

"I thought he was on the other side of the fence so I went outside. And when I got up here I realized he was on my," he recalled. "I kind of exited the yard really quick."

Kearny police were called to the scene and officers kept watch with guns at the ready, waiting for the state's Fish and Wildlife representatives to arrive. Residents were warned to stay inside.

Julia Tupy was joking with her friends about what they would do if they saw a bear on a hike in Vernon Township. Then their joke became a reality. NBC New York's Ray Villeda reports.

"We have not gone out. My husband just dared to go walk the dog. He’s going that direction but I’m still worried," another neighbor said.

Other neighbors wondered how the bear that has been evading capture for three days got so close.

"A bear in a tree in my neighbor's yard right in the backyard where the grandkids hang out sometimes. It’s crazy. It’s crazy," Keith Reid said.

When Wildlife officials arrived, they did not recommend tranquilizing or trapping the bear, police said. The experts left after saying it is best to let the bear find its own way home.

If you encounter a black bear, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection recommends that you remain calm, stand your ground, avoid direct eye contact, then slowly back away and do not run.

You can also try to scare the bear away by making loud noises and making yourself look as big as possible by waving your arms.

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