February 19, 2019

New Jersey: State Appeals Court Rejects Further Restrictions on Bear Hunting

By Brett Stayton, Mid-Atlantic States Coordinator

The well-documented fight regarding New Jersey’s bear hunting season added another chapter recently as a lawsuit brought forward by anti-hunting groups in the Garden State was rejected by a New Jersey appeals court.

The lawsuit challenged provisions approved in 2015 and included in the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s (DFW) Black Bear Management Plan. These provisions added a second annual bear hunting season in October to supplement the December season, increased the number of hunting permits available to the public, and legalized the use of archery equipment for bear hunting. The lawsuit claimed that the DFW inflated the number of complaints they received regarding nuisance bears in an effort to justify the plan and accused the DFW of failing to consider non-lethal measures of population control.

The lawsuit was rejected on the premise that those claims were unsubstantiated and the DFW instead relied on the best available scientific research to develop the plan.

 “When sportsmen stand together with scientists and the world’s best bear biologists to produce a comprehensive black bear management plan like we have here in New Jersey, not only do sportsmen win, but so do our forests; science and public safety; along with property owners, farmers and other stakeholders,” said Cody McLaughlin, spokesman for the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance (NJOA). The NJOA is the state’s largest pro-sportsmen advocacy group and serves as an official advisory council for the New Jersey Angling and Hunting Conservation Caucus.

CSF will continue to work with the New Jersey Sportsmen’s Caucus leadership and NJOA in striving to ensure that future wildlife management decisions in the state are guided by the best available scientific data. 

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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