On Thursday, Oct. 13, the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee will hear testimony on a pair of bills to end New Jersey’s black bear hunting seasons. The committee will convene in Room 9 on the third floor of the Statehouse Annex at 2:00pm A.3527, sponsored by Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-37) would remove black bear from the state’s list of game species. Eustace is also sponsoring AR127 which opposes expansion of the black bear hunting season.
Bear hunting was banned in New Jersey for about 30 years before a season was adopted in 2003. The season was opened again in 2005 before becoming annual in 2010. Even with the state’s annual bear hunt, New Jersey still has a very high density black bear population. Of course the expanding bear populations mean more human/animal interaction. In 2014, a Rutgers student hiking in northwest New Jersey was fatally mauled by a black bear. Last year, park managers were forced to close Ramapo Valley Reservation in Bergen County, and officials ended up culling four problem bears.
Hunters play a vital role in the state’s conservation efforts. The bear population has been so strong in recent years that game managers approved a special, early six-day season, which is occurring this week. The early season is in addition to the shotgun season that takes place in early December, and this week’s season includes archery and muzzleloading.
However, animal rights extremists continue to partner with anti-gun lawmakers in Trenton to attack our hunting heritage. Please click the above "Take Action" button to contact members of the committee, and bill sponsor Tim Eustace, and respectfully ask them to withdraw this legislation and allow hunting seasons to be determined based on sound game management practices.