Black bears made appearances in the yards of two New Jersey homes over the past two days.

Freehold Township police Sgt. Joseph Winowski said a bear was spotted on Coachman Drive around 5:30 a.m. Thursday.

Video shows the bear standing on his hind legs and knocking the feeder to the ground. The bear then sticks his face into the needed and eats the feed before wandering off.

"DEP Officials advised there is no cause for concern based on their observations. We don’t have the same frequency of these sightings as other counties, but they do occur from time to time," Winowski said.

Bear in a tree in a Haledon backyard 5/18/22
Bear in a tree in a Haledon backyard 5/18/22 (Haledon police)
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Bear in a tree

Police and the DEP came to the rescue of a black bear that got stuck in a backyard tree Wednesday afternoon in Haledon.

As news helicopters buzzed overhead, the bear was up the tree at the house on East Barbour Street. Haledon police said the bear was not considered a threat. The bear was shot with a tranquilizer gun and was taken to one of the state's Wildlife Management areas.

CBS New York reported the bear tried scaling a fence before finally falling asleep.

What's attracting the bears to residential neighborhoods?

DEP spokesman Larry Hajna said that there's more woods around than you might realize.

"Bears generally tend to follow extreme corridors for many miles and can end up in a residential area," Hajna said.

Bear in a tree in a Haledon backyard 5/18/22
Bear in a tree in a Haledon backyard 5/18/22 (Haledon police)
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The DEP offers several tips on what to do if encountering a black bear in your yard or outdoors while hiking or camping.

  • Never feed or approach a bear.
  • Remain calm if you encounter a bear. Do not run from it.
  • Make the bear aware of your presence by speaking in an assertive voice, singing, clapping your hands, or making other noises.
  • Make sure the bear has an escape route.
  • If a bear enters your home, provide it with an escape route by propping all doors open.
  • Avoid direct eye contact, which may be perceived by a bear as a challenge. Never run from a bear. Instead, slowly back away.
  • To scare the bear away, make loud noises by yelling, banging pots and pans or using an airhorn. 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.
  • If the bear does not leave, move to a secure area.
  • Report black bear damage or nuisance behavior to the DEP’s 24-hour, toll-free hotline at 1-877-WARN DEP (1-877-927-6337).
  • 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 of whistles and air horns.
  • Black bear attacks are extremely rare. If a black bear does attack, fight back!
Bear in a Freehold Township backyard 5/19/22
Bear in a Freehold Township backyard 5/19/22 (Freehold Township police)
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Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

NJ beach tags guide for summer 2022

We're coming up on another summer at the Jersey Shore! Before you get lost in the excitement of sunny days on the sand, we're running down how much seasonal/weekly/daily beach tags will cost you, and the pre-season deals you can still take advantage of!

NJ county fairs make a comeback: Check out the schedule for 2022

A current list of county fairs happening across the Garden State for 2022. From rides, food, animals, and hot air balloons, each county fair has something unique to offer.

(Fairs are listed in geographical order from South NJ to North NJ)