NJ Sierra Club criticizes governor on state bear hunt

West Milford. New Jersey Sierrra chapter says the state needs an effective bear management plan, teaching people how to bear-proof their properties.

14 Oct 2020 | 08:11

A total of 201 bears that have been killed so far in this year’s black bear hunt, according to the New Jersey Sierra Club.

On Wednesday, Oct. 14, there were 28 bears killed in Sussex County, 17 killed in Warren County, 16 killed in Morris County, 4 four killed in Passaic County, one killed in Hunterdon County, totaling 66 bears killed.

The day before, the Sierra Club reported, 73 bears were killed: 26 killed in Sussex County, 23 killed in Warren County, 14 killed in Morris County, six killed in Passaic County, three killed in Hunterdon County and one killed in Bergen County.

“It’s not over, there will be more to come,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “Governor Murphy still has not made his commitment to stop the hunt. He can do it right now but chooses not to.

“Instead of an unnecessary hunt, the state needs to transition from hunting to a real management plan, one that includes strong education and uses warning signs in the region, education materials at trail heads, enforcing not feeding bears, and garbage management,” Tittel added. “He has the power to end it like Whitman, McGreevey, and Corzine did and chose not to. Since 2010, there have been 4,179 bears that have been killed.”

Segment A of the hunt goes until Oct. 17. Segment B, which includes firearm only, will begin Dec. 7-12 and 16-19 if extended.

“We need to reform the Division of Fish and Game because right now, they are the Division of Fish and Kill Game,” Tittel said. “They are managing our public lands for hunting but these lands belong to all of us and the Governor needs to understand that. New Jersey needs to move forward on an effective bear management plan, one that includes teaching people how to bear-proof their properties, including the importance of having no garbage out at night and using bear-proof containers and locked dumpsters.

“Without a real management plan, bears will change from a nuisance bear to an aggressive bear and will be put down,” Tittel added. “The black bear is a symbol that we still have wild places left in the state and that we haven’t completely given over to sprawl.”

“The black bear is a symbol that we still have wild places left in the state and that we haven’t completely given over to sprawl.”
- Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club