VERNON - People who live in what is considered "bear country" in northwestern New Jersey are seeing more bruins in their neighborhoods this fall.

The bears are popping up in yards since there is a shortage of natural food this year, including acorns and tree nuts. Now, the bears are turning to other sources of food including garbage cans and campsites as they bulk up for the winter.

The DEP says the black bear population has stabilized in northwestern New Jersey because of the State comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy. This includes research trapping, education, hunting and other non-lethal techniques.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife says its trying to tag as many bears as possible before this year's legalized hunt to establish a population estimate.