The New Jersey bear hunt kicked off this week and has gotten much attention, again, from hunters, politicians and anti-hunting lobbyists.
Hunters are getting a chance to harvest a bear for the seventh year during the New Jersey bear hunt this October. With a burgeoning population of around 3,000 bears an expanded harvest, allowing bow and muzzle-loaders, continues to be an effective method of population management, contributing to healthier bear populations.
Dave Chanda highlighted the importance of sustainable hunting in the state:
“The introduction of a fall hunt, when black bears are more active, in addition to the zone expansions, will help us achieve our goal of a healthy and sustainable bear population and will increase opportunities for hunters to take bears in areas where bear and human encounters have been reported due to bears expanding their territories.”
The hunt has not come without controversy, however, and some groups are lobbying against it. Most notably, the Sierra Club has been at the forefront of opposing this legal hunting activity. The Sierra Club has worked for years to halt bear hunting. Director Jeff Tittel made this statement:
“We are concerned that the expanded bear hunt will put more people at risk from the muzzleloader and archery. While these practices will not adequately impact our issues with bears, they will actually interfere with public safety. Muzzleloader and archery practices are safety issues for hikers, homeowners, and others in Bear Country.”
Mr Tittel also called the use of muzzleloaders and bows to harvest black bears inhumane and a public safety threat: “This type of hunting is not only inhumane, but dangerous.”
The bear hunt will continue as policy moving forward, and another hunt will be open this December as a recognized and effective management practice within the state.