New Jersey bear hunt returns after 2-year hiatus following ruling by state appellate court

New Jersey’s black bear hunt returned Tuesday after a two-year hiatus.

News 12 Staff

Dec 6, 2022, 7:50 PM

Updated 584 days ago

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New Jersey’s black bear hunt returned Tuesday after a two-year hiatus.
The hunt was supposed to return on Monday but was delayed due to lawsuits.
The Appellate Division of the state Superior Court ruled that that hunt should continue as planned.
Gov. Phil Murphy suspended the hunt after the 2020 season. Ending the bear hunt was part of his gubernatorial campaign.
But the governor reversed his decision this year due to an increase in the bear population and sightings.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection says that there was a 237% rise in nuisance bear sightings between January and October 2022, compared to the same period in 2021.
But opponents of the hunt say that those statistics are unfounded.
“They didn’t even consider the facts that we submitted that there were less bear incidents with humans on many of the years where there weren’t any bear hunts. There’s no need for them now,” says former state Sen. Ray Lesniak
Lesniak was part of the effort to stop the hunt. He says that the hunt is not only unnecessary but unfairly reinstated. He says that the fight to end the hunt isn’t over.
“I thought it was an outrageous ruling and the court totally misinterpreted our application for an emergency. We will be before a Supreme Court asking for a stay…And we’ll have this bear hunt stopped by [Wednesday],” Lesniak says.
The DEP asked News 12 not to film at any of the hunt check-in stations on Tuesday. The News 12 crews did not see any hunters when stopped at the station in Rockway.


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