Sierra Club: ‘Bear hunt not needed’

| 05 Dec 2018 | 03:28

Segment B of the bear hunt has killed 15 bears in its first day which brings total bears killed for the 2018 to 155.
This segment of the hunt will last through Dec. 8.
The dates of a Segment B season extension, if announced, will be Wednesday, Dec. 12 through Saturday, Dec. 15.
The state appeals court recently rejected a motion filed by New Jersey Outdoor Alliance and other hunting groups challenging (Gov. Phil) Murphy’s order that closes state lands for bear hunting.
“The unneeded and unnecessary bear hunt in New Jersey has started again. Over 150 bears have already been killed in this year’s private hunt, this is on top of the 3,566 bears that have been killed since the 2010 hunt,” Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club Jeff Tittle said. “Enough is enough already. If Gov. Murphy can win in court on blocking the hunt on state lands, then he can win in court on blocking the hunt on all lands. Murphy has the authority to block the hunt just like (Gov. Christine) Whitman, (Gov. James) McGreevey, and (Gov. Jon) Corzine did and yet he is still not doing anything to stop it. Murphy’s private bear hunt is still going forward.”
According to a report by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife Bear Activity Report, the number of bears in New Jersey from 2009 to 2018 have dropped by 87 percent.
Sightings dropped by 83 percent, and Damage and Nuisance reports dropped by 86 percent since 2009. Encounters with aggressive bears tied the lowest total since 2010 with two in 2017.
Despite this data, there will still be however, a second phase of the bear hunt for 2018 that began Dec. 3.
“The bear hunt was initiated initially to get rid of aggressive and nuisance bears and the numbers show that they have dropped, Tittle said. “There may not be many bears left this hunt because of the cold weather and more bears are hibernating. Instead of more hunting, we need 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. We also need to teach people how to bear-proof their property, including the importance of having no garbage at night and bear proof containers. These will do a lot more in managing the bear population than having an unnecessary hunt.”