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Doris Lin

NJ Bear Hunt Underway; Take Action

By December 5, 2012

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Bear hunt protest

On Monday, New Jersey's six-day recreational bear hunt began. The Division of Fish and Wildlife sometimes pretends that they're trying to control the bear population or trying to reduce bear complaints, but they admit that the bears are not biologically overpopulated and at least one DFW biologist admits that the hunt has nothing to do with complaints. According to DFW, most hunters will have the head and/or hide taxidermied, which makes it a trophy hunt.

Not that it would be better if the bears were being killed mainly for meat. And some hunters do eat bear meat. For animal rights activists, the problem is that a bear has his own rights and interests, which don't include being killed for our rug or dinner.

But even if you're not an animal rights activist, this hunt is a farce. The hunt is scientifically flawed and the bears are merely just another "resource" for hunters to "harvest," because state wildlife management agencies are run by hunters, for hunters. When DFW biologists talk about their "science," they're just looking for evidence that the bear population can sustain a hunt; not whether a hunt is necessary. This is why it's a recreational hunt.

There are so many smaller issues that reveal the hypocrisy behind this hunt. For example, hunting is a dying sport, and the Animal Protection League (of which I am the Director of Legal Affairs) has issued a report that shows that bear hunts are being used to recruit hunters. State wildlife management agencies have an interest in recruiting and retaining hunters because their funding is partially dependent on selling hunting permits. Also, the best way to prevent human/bear conflicts is nonlethal management, but the hunters want to keep the bear complaints high as a way of justifying their hunt to the media and the public, so they don't put much effort into effectively reducing bear complaints. Baiting is another problem, because putting out stinky, rotting human food in the woods is bad for bears, other wildlife and the ecosystem in general.

What you can do: NJ State Senator Raymond Lesniak has introduced a bear smart bill that would ban baiting and require better garbage control in NJ. The bill already has the backing of The Record, via their December 4, 2012 editorial, "The Record: No More Hunts." If you are a New Jersey resident, please contact your state legislators (find your legislators and their contact info here) and urge them to support S.2369, the New Jersey Bear Smart Bill.

Never contacted your legislators before? It's easy. Learn more about grassroots lobbying here.

Image © Doris Lin 2012, licensed to About.com, Inc.


December 7, 2012 at 12:06 pm
(1) Jon Reid says:

The fact that the hunters have the hide taxidermied does NOT make it a trophy hunt. Hunters use all of the meat from the animals they harvest. You are either misinformed or are intentionally perpetuating the myth that hunters hunt for trophies. It is illegal to hunt in the US for trophies AND that is not the reason we do it.
I know you will not understand hunting and come to the issue with prejudiced attitudes, but there is a sense of accomplishment after a successful hunt. That is why, since prehistoric times, man has wanted a memorial to his successful hunt. Look at the cave drawings around the world and you will see “trophies”. Were they trophy hunting because they painted their successful hunts? Of course not, they were hunting for food, but this doesn’t diminish their desire for a memorial to their success.

December 7, 2012 at 1:14 pm
(2) rob says:

There is so much hypocrisy with the animal rights groups. If people wish to hunt to provide food for themselves and others and choose not to buy it in a store or buy less of it, they have that right and should not be “forced” to depend on others for their sustenance as the animal rights crowd would like. The hypocrisy of the statement that hunters are a “minority” of the population and should have no privileges flies in the face of what this country represents. Under their rules no “minority” group should be able to dictate its will on the general population. Doesn’t sound fair does it? Just because you don’t like something and don’t engage in it does not mean others should not have the right to do it or engage in it. Be careful what you wish for, your rights could be taken away next!

December 12, 2012 at 2:20 pm
(3) Doris says:

Thanks for your comments, Rob and Jon.

Jon, trophy hunting is not illegal in the US. Second, the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife calls the NJ bear hunt a trophy hunt: When they adopted a black bear hunt for September, 2000, they said, “(This season) is not
designed as a ‘trophy’ hunt . . . A trophy bear hunt would target only adult males by beginning the hunting in late November or early December, a time when most females are already denned for the winter.” Then they moved the hunt to early December.

Rob, it doesn’t matter whether hunters are a minority or a majority. Hunting is wrong. No one said that hunters should have no privileges; they’re entitled to the same privileges that everyone else has. It’s also wrong that hunters are less than 1% of the population in NJ but make up the majority of the Fish and Game Council.

January 13, 2013 at 11:28 am
(4) Tricia says:

The bear hunt is a shame and humans have infringed on this spot in (New Jersey) I believe, probably this was their home for eons, but who knows now , the point is moot, these are amazing creatures, and I hope that in the future they are relocated to some place where they can live and raise their young, and not be subjected to a bunch of idiots who call themselves “hunters” this is just about as bad as the Secretary of the Interior ken salazar the cattleman, who for his own conveinice is instrumental in hunting down the grey wolves by helicopter and also the
wild horses, that once covered our plains, the horses are shipped to USDA facilities in Socorro TX and who knows whereelse, and then shipped in cattle trailers to slaughter houses in Dallas TX and probably
mexico, where they are beaten to death, lets get civilized and stop this
madness, its just an abominable fact of our society thats still uncivilized!!!!!!

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