NJ Governor Favors Black Bear Hunt


The first New Jersey Black Bear hunt since 2005 is scheduled for December. And there are a whole lot of New Jersey citizens — not to mention animal advocacy groups – who do not want it to happen.  As with any emotionally charged issue, it’s better to sit back, take a deep breath and honestly evaluate the facts prior to forming an opinion.

In an attempt to do just that, Janet Piszar, President of Bear Education and Resource Group (BEAR), held a press conference last week at the State Capital Building in Trenton.  Numerous groups were represented, including the Animal Protection League of New Jersey and the New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club. 

Dr. Edward Tavss, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University, presented his detailed statistical analysis on black bear nuisance complaints in New Jersey and other states.

His conclusion reads (in part): “The results demonstrate that at every site in which the hunting approach was evaluated no effect in reducing the human complaints/conflicts was observed while at every site in which the non-violent program was evaluated, the non-violent approach was demonstrated to be markedly effective in reducing human complaints/conflicts.” 

Citing the West Milford, New Jersey, study, he reported “the facts show when garbage control is initiated, complaints go down.”  Dr. Tavss made a point to highlight his approach in his analysis as purely statistical; he has no personal interest in advocating hunting or non-hunting as the solution for New Jersey black bear population control.  He says the study speaks for itself.

Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club Jeff Tittel’s position can be summed up with his statement: “It’s never been about managing bears, it’s only about hunting bears.  The DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) has just about eliminated every program to manage bears in NJ so they can justify the hunt.”  He went on to summarize “Until the state deals with garbage — there is no management plan.”

Dr. Stephan Stringham, a well known and highly published Bear Biologist from Alaska, participated via telephone conference.  He explained in layman’s terms why black bears are not a threat to humans, even in a densely populated state like New Jersey.

Stringham said black bears are very afraid of people and will not attack unless cornered with no way out.  Not even a mother black bear will attack a person in defense of her cubs because her fear of humans is too great.  He went on to clarify that it is in fact grizzly bears, not black bears, who will protect their cubs from humans.  (Grizzlies are native to the western United States; there are none in New Jersey.)

A legal panel consisting of Doris Lin, Attorney with Animal Protection League of New Jersey, and Walter Leur, attorney for the BEAR Group, detailed why the NJ Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy (CBBM) — released in March and recommending a black bear hunt for population control — is the product of illegal meetings. To combat it, BEAR filed a lawsuit, which is moving forward. 

Piszar summed it up nicely when she said “A quorum of FCG (Fish and Game Commission) members and other DFW (Division of Fish and Wildlife) staff constructed it, without public attendance and input.  It (CBBM) should never have been released to the public for these reasons because it is the product of illegal meetings.”  

Last to speak was Angi Metler, Executive Director of the Animal Protection League of New Jersey, who reported the Coalition to Protect Black Bears in NJ has grown to over 800,000 members.  She presented results of a recent survey done by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc., where they interviewed 625 New Jersey voters on April 7 and April 8 of this year. 

State wide opposition to a black bear hunt is reported at 45 percent, support of same is 35 percent, with 20 percent undecided.  When asked if non-lethal methods for bear population control in New Jersey should be prioritized, 74 percent agreed, 20 percent disagreed, and 6 percent were unsure.  These statistics clearly indicate New Jersey residents do not want black bears hunted. Instead, residents prefer non-lethal methods of dealing with bear complaints.

December is fast approaching.  New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie favors the hunt.  His office stated his reasoning as “safety and health issues.” So, here’s the question: do you believe black bear hunting in New Jersey is an appropriate way to reduce nuisance reports with humans, or do you believe the statistical analysis presented by Dr. Tavss? 

New Jersey residents have until June 18 to make comments — in writing — to the government about the scheduled black bear hunt. You may submit your comments electronically or you can mail your comments to the following:


Larry Herrighty


Division of Fish and Wildlife

Department of Environmental Protection

PO Box 400

Trenton, NJ 08625-0400


It’s imperative that as many New Jersey residents as possible communicate to both Mr. Herrighty and Governor Christie. The governor can be reached at 609-292-6000.

For more info: Activist Spotlight: New Jersey Bear Hunt



photo credit: thanks to jitze via flickr


Susan K.
Susan Koshney7 years ago

Just called Gov office they listened but didn't hear. What is this state coming to? We no longer have a voice, well our voice will be heard loud and clear when election time comes. What kind of an example are we setting for our children??

Vivianne Mosca-Clark

The governor is over riding the citizens vote.
Bad Governor.
He needs a new job out if the government.
People have over populated this planet. We need to make arrangements for co-operating with other life forces as we move on on their homes.
It's only fair.

Sandy Kennedy
Sandy Kennedy7 years ago

They keep building and building and building, where do they expect the bears to go? I used to live in Jersey. We had a huge UNinhabited mountain behind our house. Before I left, they had filled the whole mountain with townhouses and a golf course. And they wonder why the bears are a problem?? They are taking the bears' habitat and then killing them for getting in the way. They should impeach that a$$ who calls himself governor.

Alicia V.
Alicia V7 years ago

Just horrendous! Why don't they disappear these killers...?

June Bullied
june bullied7 years ago

the only people who want a bear hunt are "macho men" who want to prove they are a man. NOT! you're viewed more aa a coward with a gun. there shd be humane controlled ways for the bears.

Morgan G.
Morgan Getham7 years ago

Statistics from a study sponsored by a group with an ax to grind in a debate are always somewhat suspect, but the evidence DOES seem to point to the fact that there is substantial support for non-lethal remedies.

Oh, and speaking of debates, Daylight Champon is hereby deemed to have totally lost this debate, by virtue of having resorted to methods outlined in Godwin's Law. This is generally recognized in virtually all areas throughout the internet.

Daylight Chapon
Lisa Kiran7 years ago

Shoot them with tranquilizers and then an infertility drug if over-population is the reason. BTW, the human population is the cause of this "over-population by squeezing bears and everything else out of their own homes, not the bears. Humans have basically destroyed the natural balance of our planet and now need to make it gory with mass slaughter like a bunch of Hitlers.
This shoddy excuse for murder and money will lead to mayhem.
Support your right to arm bears. ~Cleveland Amory

charmaine c.
Charmaine C7 years ago

Strangely enough my local MP, newly voted in, just sent me a very similar letter after I questioned his policies on fox hunting, hare coursing, badger baiting and other equally brutal sports over here. Do you all think it's a stupidity disease going around that affects certain people and politicians?? Shocking, is it not?

Einat Brigler
Einat Bee7 years ago

Think hard -- whose land was it first?
If the governor really wants to eliminate the "nuisances" that are plaguing the state, then maybe he should sanction a "human hunt"

Helen C.
Helen C7 years ago

Who voted for this guy??????????