NJ governor curbs the scope of state's annual black bear hunt

The Outdoor Alliance is alarmed; the Sierra Club calls it a good first step.

David Madden
August 21, 2018 - 12:43 pm
Two American black bears in New Jersey

K Quinn Ferris | Dreamstime.com

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TRENTON, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Gov. Phil Murphy has signed an executive order banning bear hunts in New Jersey state parks.

Murphy campaigned in part on a pledge to end the hunts, which have been permitted under some governors and not by others. The governor's order covers about 700,000 acres under state control. County and municipal lands and private properties are not included.

Jeff Tittel heads up New Jersey's Sierra Club, which supports Murphy's action as a good first step.

"One of our concerns is that it's going to be very hard to enforce," Tittel said, "because in some areas you could have a state forest next to the county park or a farm. So people can go from one to the other."

A total ban, Tittel believes, won't get through the legislature, and some believe the order is about as far as Murphy can go on his own.

Among those who support the hunt is the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance.

"We're deeply upset and shocked that the governor would ban this on public land, which is paid for by hunters," spokesman Cody McLaughlin said, "especially wildlife management areas. Those are paid for almost entirely by hunting license fees."

He points to a state study suggesting the bear population could double in sixc years without the hunt.