New Jersey Gov. Signs Order to Ban Black Bear Hunting on State Land, But Not Without Backlash
OutdoorHub Reporters 08.21.18
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is attempting to ban black bear hunting on state lands for this year, but ran into some snags along the way.
The first-year Democratic governor reportedly made the announcement with an executive order in hand, but was ultimately stopped short of ending the hunt altogether after admitting he doesn’t have the authority.
“I am fulfilling my commitment to stop the bear hunt to the greatest extent of my authority by ordering the Department of Environmental Protection to prevent bear hunting on all public lands under the DEP’s jurisdiction,” Murphy explained. He also requested lawmakers take similar action.
Today, I signed an executive order stopping this year’s bear hunt on all of @NewJerseyDEP public lands.
My first concern has always been public safety, and we must review all non-lethal options before authorizing another hunt.https://t.co/GmvTeE4tsE
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) August 20, 2018
According to Fox News, the state council – with sole responsibility for setting hunting regulations – has already authorized bear hunting through 2021, so Murphy’s previous campaign efforts may be derailed.
Cody McLaughlin, a trustee with the nonprofit New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, which opposes efforts to shut down bear hunting, estimated about three-fifths of hunters use public lands when hunting various quarry.
Officials estimate New Jersey is home to roughly 3,500 bears, and McLaughlin believes NJ has the densest bear populations on the continent. He said Gov. Murphy blatantly ignored scientific studies that show hunting is an effective means of population control.
State officials are seemingly caught up in a sort of catch-22, as they claimed the annual hunt is key to controlling the population, but there are also concerns some bears go hungry because of the high population.