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Tragic Fatal Bear Attack in New Jersey: First in 150 Years

fatal bear attack

A tragic fatal bear attack results in the death of a New Jersey hiker, the first person killed by a bear in the state in over 150 years.

A 22-year old New Jersey hiker appears to be the victim of the first fatal bear attack recorded in New Jersey in at least 150 years. Darsh Patel was hiking in West Milford's Apshawa Preserve Sunday with four of his friends when they encountered a bear, which began following them. In response, they then split up and all headed different directions.

Some time later, they all reunited, except for Patel. They then called the police who responded and found Patel's body. Police officers located the bear about 30 yards from the body and killed it with a shotgun.

As reported by, the bear in question was a 299-pound male, which was approximately four years old and had no previous history of conflict with humans. In this case, officials are speculating that the bear likely viewed Mr. Patel as a food source.

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Police officers sent the body to a Department of Environmental Protection lab for a necropsy in order to confirm that was indeed the bear that killed Mr. Patel and to attempt to determine the cause of the attack.

While bear attacks are not exactly common, they do occasionally occur all over the United States. However, it is extremely rare for a black bear to kill a human being.

That being said, when in bear country, it is always a good idea to stay in a group and carry some sort of defense against bears, such as a handgun (where legal) or bear spray, to use in the unlikely event of a bear attack.

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Tragic Fatal Bear Attack in New Jersey: First in 150 Years