Friends of Animals did everything we could to stop New Jersey’s immoral, unnecessary black bear trophy hunt that was reinstated in December by the state’s Fish and Game Council as an alleged emergency rulemaking. After protesting the hunt at a public meeting following Gov. Phil Murphy’s call for action, we took our legal arguments all the way to the New Jersey Supreme Court.
While that involved the hunt in December 2022, which was approved under the false guise of an emergency, now there is another chance to step up and protect black bears in New Jersey for years to come. You can submit comments about the Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy by Feb. 3 here: https://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/comments/. Fill in the form and under Select Rulemaking choose, DEP Dkt. No. 09-22-11 Black Bear Mgmt. Policy and amendments to 7:25-5.6. Enter your comments in the large box and click submit.
The state applies a modified version of the “Lincoln-Petersen estimator” to approximate the total bear population, but this methodology is prone to causing “severe overestimation of bear population sizes” and is “so deeply flawed that the agency has no scientifically defensible approximation of how many black bears may actually reside in New Jersey.”
Not to mention, the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife admits there have never been population studies of eastern Morris County, much of Bergen County and the rest of the state south from Essex and Somerset counties.
The truth is, scientific studies show there is actually a weak correlation between the population of bears and bear human conflict—incidents are more closely correlated with human behavior. That’s why you need to make it clear to the agency you support nonlethal black bear management, which keeps bears away from unnatural food sources and lowers complaints and incidents. An agency so concerned with “public safety” should require the use of bear-resistant trash cans, ban baiting by hunters statewide and support the new wildlife feeding ban legislation.
Bear hunts will not prevent bears from being opportunistic feeders. Moreover, baiting by hunters is ecologically harmful and causes conflict as does the deliberate lack of a garbage control program.