The New Jersey Bear Hunt

Brittney Holmgren

New Jersey has begun its second annual six-day bear hunt in an effort to control the state’s growing bear population. This year’s hunt will allow about 6,200 hunters to track down the animals.

As expected, anti-hunt protestors were ready early Monday morning at the beginning of the hunt, winning a ruling from the sate Appellate Court allowing the protestors to demonstrate outside the check –in station on Route 23.

Hunters feel differently, with one stating “It’s not just walking and shooting. I think bears are a natural renewable resource and hunters are doing their job by hunting and keeping the bear population in check.”

This is after the state appeals court affirmed that the DEP’s bear management policy providing for the hunt was not arbitrary and capricious. Commissioner Bob Maritn stated, “the plan is a legitimate response to deal with a large black bear population and a resultant increase in public complaints about bear and human encounters.” Last year 592 bears were killed.

This raises the important issues of a growing human population that continues to intrude on the natural habitat of many animals. Initiating a hunt based on “increased public complaints” is a backwards way of thinking when it is the human population that is intruding on the bear’s habitat. It does not seem that the bears are over populated by their own standards, such as when white tail deer become overpopulated causing many of them to starve to death. Rather, the bears in New Jersey are only overpopulated to the extent that we feel they are threatening our own personal safety. It does not appear that the DEP has given reasons for killing the bears rather than relocating them to a more suitable habitat.

9 Responses

  1. Bear hunting has proven to be an effective conservation measure in numerous locations. The black bear population throughout the United States is thriving.

    I’ve not hunted bears myself, but understand they can be an incredibly challenging quarry. The sausage and stew meat is superb.

    In some individual cases, it might be best to relocate a bear that has been getting into trouble. That is often done with grizzly bears in my region — when a particular bear comes into conflict with people.
    Of course, grizzlies can pose a graver threat to human safety. Four people have been killed by grizzlies in this vicinity in the past two years.

    Regardless, I think many of our ecological problems would be solved if people would settle for houses in town, instead of insisting upon subdivisions and little mini-estates on prime agricultural land or wildlife habitat. I don’t know what the situation is in Jersey, but “trophy mansions” have become the scourge of the Rocky Mountain West.

  2. We need to arm the bears and let them hunt humans to reduce our ever-growing population of 7 plus billions!

  3. Maria,

    You know what we here tell tourists when they ask how to know the difference between a black bear and a grizzly?

    “A black bear will climb up the tree after you, whereas the grizzly will simply push the tree over.”

  4. This is my favorite blog on bears:

    I expect some people will say that the shameless hunters should’ve made sure the bear was dead before loading him on to the truck; then, they will say, the laughing men would have been “humane.”

    I disagree with those people that killing animals for food or fun is ever humane. That’s an oxymoron and an insult to my mind and heart, not to mention to the animals.

  5. I just congratulated ‘Hal’ for his views opposing ‘hog-dog’ fighting. At least I thought he did…for his views on bear hunting are somewhat different. Makes you wonder what goes on in some people’s minds once they get hold of a riffle, and why. Don’t give me that junk about “keeping bear numbers down” and “human safety”. Simply don’t go living on bear territory, it has been theirs for light-years before the human species appeared on the scene. With sorry consequences, need one add. As to the ‘sausage and stew meat’: you can keep them. The very sight of what’s being shown here is repulsive. New Jersey, or China and suchlike places?… Makes you wonder. As to the ecology/conservation plea: who and what disturbs the natural balance if it isn’t humans?…

  6. 50+ years ago I was raised in New Jersey… I’ve seen the “garden” state through decades of human invasion upon wildlife. Each time I’ve seen a new development in place of what was once wooded areas I ask myself… Where on earth do they expect the animals to go??? I know how I’d feel if my home was constantly destroyed with no where to relocate. And then being killed because of such! I’d be angry as a bear!

    Another thing that makes me angry is the sorted details around the legalization of this bear-hunt in relation to political corruption… Of course the exploitation of living beings and greed always go hand in hand. Chris Christie: Follow the Money

  7. Correction please… I meant to say “sordid” details. thnx

  8. Scary stuff because bear population is starting to grow. I don’t like bear whatsoever, so yeah. Up here in Houlton, Maine, I can’t even do my daily jog without carrying my bear spray.

  9. […] very interested to see how this will work out if it goes to the courts. Hopefully, unlike with the bear hunts in New Jersey, legal action can be taken before the hunts commence. Population control is one thing. Doing it in […]

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