NJ Bill Opens Door to Resume Bear Hunt

U.S. Sportsmen, Bear Hunting Magazine

A New Jersey bill would put bear management back into the hands of wildlife professionals, erasing years of anti-hunting efforts by former Governor John Corzine.

Assembly Bill 181, sponsored by Assemblyman Gary Chiusano (R- Frankford Township) and Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose (R- Franklin), would clear the way for the use of bear hunting to manage the states burgeoning black bear population. Additionally, the bill clarifies that the state Fish and Game Council has sole authority to implement and regulate black bear hunting in New Jersey.

The bill also prohibits the Commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) from blocking a bear hunt that has been approved by the Council. Former DEP Commissioner Lisa Jackson arbitrarily cancelled the states bear hunt in 2006. In response, the U.S. Sportsmens Alliance Foundation (USSAF), along with Safari Club International and the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmens Clubs filed a lawsuit against the state to challenge the former Commissioners decision to stop the bear hunt. That November, the state Supreme Court refused to consider an emergency injunction that would have compelled the Commissioner to proceed with the 2006 hunt.

Since then, Assembly members Chiusano and McHose have led the campaign calling for the Administration to reevaluate its bear hunting ban as the number of incidents between humans and bears continue to increase dramatically.

This is a critical piece of legislation that would help ensure that science, not politics, will determine New Jerseys bear management policy, said Bud Pidgeon, USSA president and CEO. The passage of AB 181 would be a monumental victory for New Jersey sportsmen and for scientific wildlife management.

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