You need to call the New Jersey DNR and inform them that your property is being terrorized by a bear. Find a Sargeant and send him and email. They wont ignore you, because if they do and it hurts more than a chicken next time they will be negligent - try it.
Few black bears learn to kill livestock, but the behavior, once developed, usually persists. The severity of black bear predation makes solving the problem very important to the individuals who suffer the losses. If bears are suspect, look for deep tooth marks (about 1/2 inch [1.3 cm] in diameter) on the neck directly behind the ears. On large animals, look for large claw marks (1/2 inch [1.3 cm] between individual marks) on the shoulders and sides.
Bear predation must be distinguished from coyote or dog attacks. Coyotes typically attack the throat region. Dogs chase their prey, often slashing the hind legs and mutilating the animal. Tooth marks on the back of the neck are not usually found on coyote and dog kills. Claw marks are less prominent on coyote or dog kills, if present at all.
Different types of livestock behave differently when attacked by bears. Sheep tend to bunch up when approached. Often three or more will be killed in a small area. Cattle have a tendency to scatter when a bear approaches. Kills usually consist of single animals. Hogs can evade bears in the open and are more often killed when confined. Horses are rarely killed by bears, but they do get clawed on the sides.
After an animal is killed, black bears will typically open the body cavity and remove the internal organs. The liver and other vital organs are eaten first, followed by the hindquarters. Udders of lactating females are also preferred. When a bear makes a kill, it usually returns to the site at dusk. Bears prefer to feed alone. If an animal is killed in the open, the bear may drag it into the woods or brush and cover the remains with leaves, grass, soil, and forest debris. The bear will periodically return to this cache site to feed on the decomposing carcass.
Black bears occasionally threaten human health and safety. Dr. Stephen Herrero documented 500 injuries to humans resulting from encounters with black bears from 1960 to 1980 (Herrero 1985). Of these, 90% were minor injuries (minor bites, scratches, and bruises). Only 23 fatalities due to black bear attacks were recorded from 1900 to 1980. These are remarkably low numbers, considering the geographic overlap of human and black bear populations. Ninety percent of all incidents were likely associated with habituated, food-conditioned bears.
Edited by wvtim - 3/19/12 at 5:57pm