NJ Council Member Who Pushed NJ 2003 Hunt DiedNJ Dept. of Fish & Wildlife / nj.com, Bear Hunting Magazine
Former New Jersey Fish and Game Council member Richard L. Culp, who successfully pushed in 2003 for the state's first bear hunt in more than three decades, died Saturday at his home.
Culp, 79, a native of Huntsville, Pa. and a longtime Jefferson resident, was described by his family in an obituary as an avid hunter and fisherman.
"He was a big advocate for hunting issues. That was his passion. He really gave a good argument," Jefferson Mayor Russ Felter said.
Culp, a member of the National Rifle Association and the Mountaineer Rod and Gun Club, was appointed to Fish and Game in 2000 amid escalating concerns about black bear management in New Jersey -- particularly in northwestern municipalities such as Jefferson.
The bear population was rising, resulting in property damage reports and concerns about the potential of a bruin attacking a person.
"Somebody is going to get killed someday, or badly mauled, and I don't want to see it," Culp said after a Sparta toddler was swatted by a bear in 2003.
Morris County Freeholder Jack Schrier, of Mendham Township, who served on Fish and Game with Culp, was often the lone council opponent to hunting bears. Schrier, though, said he always got along with Culp.
"I liked him, even though we were always on opposite sides of every hunting issue," Schrier said. "Despite the fact that we had a difference of opinion, he was a very nice man, very considerate," Schrier said.
Culp was a member of several local organizations, including the Jefferson Recreation League, Jefferson Booster Club, American Legion, Milton First Aid Squad and Masonic Lodge.