Author Topic: New Jersey Wildlife Board Endorses Bear Hunt  (Read 890 times)

Offline Big58cal

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New Jersey Wildlife Board Endorses Bear Hunt
« on: March 15, 2004, 06:40:24 AM »
New Jersey rule makers have voted to allow a 2004 black bear hunt.  The decision came despite strong opposition from the administration.

The New Jersey Fish and Game Council voted 8-3 to authorize a bear hunt, calling the hunt an economically effective way to keep the stateís bear population in check.  Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley Campbell asked the council to postpone the hunt until additional population studies are complete.  He supports hunt alternatives including birth control projects, which are expensive, unreliable and potentially unsafe.

In 2003, New Jersey held its first black bear hunt in over 30 years.  The hunt was intended to help manage the rapidly increasing bear population.  Council members cited a substantial bear population, an increase in bear-human conflicts and recommendations from DEP biologists as reasons for endorsing a 2004 hunt.

Last year, Commissioner Campbell tried to override the council and take control of the hunt. He reserved the right to stop the six-day hunt early if he determined enough bears had been killed and he banned young hunters from participating.  This year, Campbell is again demanding the sole right to control and cancel the hunt.

The anti-hunters are planning to use Campbellís disapproval of the councilís recommendations to their advantage.  They plan to use the conflicting opinions as a tool to seize control of the council.  Last year, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Mercer, introduced a bill that would have stripped seats on the council from sportsmen and reserved them for animal and environmental activists.  The bill was withdrawn due to sportsmenís pressure, but the antiís are pushing for its reintroduction.

The allowance for the bear hunt is part of the proposed game code for 2004-2005.  The proposal must undergo a public comment period before being finalized.

Take Action!  New Jersey sportsmen should call Gov. James McGreevey and encourage him to support sportsmen and the black bear hunt.  Tell him that the councilís decision is based on scientific evidence and is the most effective method of controlling the bear population.  To contact Gov. McGreevey, call (609) 292-6000.
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