The heinous New Jersey bear trophy hunt continues this week, and Friends of Animals wants the public to know that they should be more afraid of hunters than black bears in their state.

That’s because from 2011-2017, there have been 33 hunting accidents, including two fatalities. In that same time period, there have been only four reported incidences involving bear-human conflict, according to data FoA obtained from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.

Sadly, the tragic death of a college student attacked by a bear in 2014 in West Milford’s Apshawa Preserve could have been prevented with better education by DEP about what to do when hikers encounter a bear.

The good news for humans and bears is that Gov. Chris Christie’s reign of terror is coming to a close—Christie began vilifying black bears to cash in on campaign promises to the NRA and other pro-hunting groups like the NJ Outdoors Alliance, who rallied for his election.

And on Thursday Gov-elect Phil Murphy once again confirmed he plans a moratorium on future bear hunts. In a statement to the New Jersey Herald, Murphy said: “In the past, the bear hunt has been expanded without local input or evidence that it is effective at controlling the bear population. My first concern will always be for public safety, but before authorizing another hunt we need a fuller understanding and proof it works better than non-lethal options in the state’s long-term bear management policies.”

Finally, we have someone in Phil Murphy who understands killing bears won’t do anything to educate them not to be opportunistic feeders. It’s up to humans to use bear-resistant garbage cans in bear habitat and remove bird feeders from March-November, etc.

We are also bolstered by the fact that less than one percent of New Jersey residents hunted in 2016—that’s 14,000 less hunters than five years ago. This means the majority of NJ residents think violence towards animals is not recreation.

We couldn’t agree more.

You can call or write to Gov-elect Phil Murphy to thank him for promising a moratorium at 973-825-2017 or INFO@MURPHY4NJ.COM.