New Jersey’s annual black bear hunt began on Monday just before sunrise. For the first three days the hunt is restricted to archery, and hunters with bows and arrows shoot at bears, often resulting in painful and horrific injuries that could lead to slow, agonizing deaths for the animals.
Beginning Thursday, hunters can use archery and muzzle loading rifles to kill any black bear including the females and their cubs. The hunt lasts for six days.
The second segment of the hunt begins in December and is restricted to Sussex, Warren, Passaic, Morris, Bergen, Hunterdon, Somerset and Mercer counties. Hunting is prohibited in state parks, forests and wildlife management areas. The second segment, from Dec. 7-12, is firearms only.
According to NJ.com, Governor Murphy has said it might be the last one under his administration stating the state Fish and Game Council is considering an amendment which would suspend bear hunting at the end of this season. Murphy pledged to end the hunt when running for governor in 2017; he is now being criticized for not stopping the 2020 hunt.
“This means, drum roll, that the 2020 bear hunt — already limited to a few days in October and December and, pursuant to my 2018 executive order, not permitted on state lands — will be the last bear hunt under my administration,” the governor stated earlier.
Fish and Game Council member Phil Brodhecker, however, stated he stands by his support for bear hunting citing hunting is a good “bear management plan.” Brodhecker said farmers have reported more damage to their crops this year because of the increasing bear population. Brodhecker was appointed by then-Gov. Chris Christie and said his replacement is awaiting Senate approval.
Bear hunting resumed in New Jersey in 2003; before that the black bear population had become nearly extinct and hunting had been prohibited for 30 years. A total of 315 bears were killed in the 2019 hunt.
The New Jersey Fish and Game Council has the authority over the hunt, according to the governor. Murphy has been a longtime critic of the bear hunt. His executive order in 2018 barred bear hunting in 700,000 acres of state parks, forests and recreation areas.
(Photo via Susan Kehoe Facebook)
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