Ignoring its own 2004 ruling establishing guidelines for implementing bear hunting seasons, the New Jersey Supreme Court last week declined to review the political decision of Governor Jon Corzine (D) and DEP Commissioner Lisa Jackson to ignore those guidelines and gut the scheduled 2006 New Jersey bear hunt.
A 2006 bear hunt had been authorized as part of a comprehensive bear management policy adopted by DEP in 2005. The move ignores the public safety crisis created by New Jersey's out-of-control bear population, which has been improperly managed for more than three decades. Recent years have seen a string of terrifying bear attacks in the region, including the gruesome death of a five-month old girl who was yanked head-first from her stroller by a hungry bear and mauled to death in 2002, just a few miles from New Jersey's northern border.
Black bears have been sighted recently in each of New Jersey's 21 counties, and represent a real threat to persons and property.