FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aiming to stop this year’s October and December bear hunts and any future New Jersey bear hunts, a collation of twelve organizations representing hundreds of thousands of New Jersey residents has filed a petition (below) with the Department of Environmental Protection to repeal rules permitting bear hunting and the Department’s Comprehensive Bear Management Policy.
In addition, the coalition sent Governor Murphy a letter (below) urging him to issue an executive order to stop the bear hunt because it’s inconsistent with his prior actions to ensure public health during the pandemic, is not based on science, and ignores public opinion against the hunt. It states: The hunt may attract out of state hunters and will inevitably encourage behavior including close contact between hunters removing dead bears from the field and between hunters and state officials at black bear hunting check stations contrary to the Governor’s prior Executive Orders regarding COVID-19 pandemic.
Even Wyoming cancelled a trophy hunt because of covid-19.
The letter outlines the ways hunters were circumventing last year’s ban on hunting on public lands by driving bears off state owned property onto private properties to be killed and points out that only New Jersey and Alaska allow the killing of female bears with cubs and the cubs themselves.
The DEP has sixty days to respond to the petition. The coalition is seeking a quick and affirmative response in time to stop this year’s bear hunts.
The coalition urges supporters to register their support at: https://lesniakinstitute.org/bears
Brian R. Hackett, New Jersey State Director for the Humane Society of the United States:
“HSUS joins the coalition submitting this rulemaking petition because the current trophy hunt of NJ black bears is extreme and unnecessary, said Brian R. Hackett, New Jersey State Director for the Humane Society of the United States. “NJ and Alaska are the only U.S. states which allow for the brutal killing of pregnant mother bears and young bear cubs, making us an outlier even when compared to other hunting states. This dangerous trophy hunt is not based on sound science, but rather a desire of a few to kill the wildlife of our state, which belongs to all our state’s residents, most of whom do not hunt and do not support trophy hunting.”
Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club:
“We are filing this petition to do the job the state is supposed to do to stop the bear hunt. There is no justification for New Jersey’s Black Bear Hunt. Instead, the state needs to transition from hunting to a real management plan, one that includes strong education and uses warning signs in the region, education materials at trail heads, enforcing not feeding bears, and garbage management. We also need to teach people how to bear-proof their property, including the importance of having no garbage at night and bear proof containers. These will do a lot more in managing the bear population than having an unnecessary hunt,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “The black bear is a symbol that we still have wild places left in the state and that we haven’t completely given over to sprawl. We need Governor Murphy to create a real educational program on bear management and to stop the bear hunt.”
Doris Lin, Director of Legal Affairs for the League of Humane Voters of NJ:
“The rulemaking petition gives Governor Murphy yet another opportunity to cancel the NJ bear hunt and keep his campaign promise. Stopping the hunt on state lands is not enough, and hunters get around the ban on state lands by driving bears off state lands before killing them,” stated Doris Lin, Director of Legal Affairs for the BEAR Group, Animal Protection League of NJ, and the League of Humane Voters of NJ. “The Governor has been saying to animal advocates, ‘Give me something to sign.’ The coalition is giving the governor something to sign: the rulemaking petition to finally end this cruel hunt.”
Kathleen Schatzmann, Senior Legislative Affairs Manager for the Animal Legal Defense Fund:
“Our action to petition the NJDEP was necessitated by an incomplete scientific process that determines the Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy ” said Kathleen Schatzmann, Senior Legislative Affairs Manager for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “New Jersey should focus on non-lethal management – utilizing methods that have proven to be effective in other states to mitigate human- bear conflicts – and put an end to the trophy hunts.”