Senator Steven Oroho and Assemblymen Parker Space and Hal Wirths (all R-24) commended the decision to reinstate New Jersey’s bear hunt and expressed appreciation to Governor Murphy for his willingness to follow the wildlife experts.
Sen. Steven Oroho and Asm. Parker Space and Hal Wirths commended the decision to reinstate New Jersey’s bear hunt and expressed appreciation to Gov. Murphy for his willingness to follow the wildlife experts. (YouTube)
“Hunting is an important part of the comprehensive set of practices that the state employs to manage the black bear population and minimize danger to people and property,” said Senator Oroho. “By his executive action to allow the bear hunt to recommence, I believe the Governor is recognizing this fact and I applaud his actions. Going forward, I hope the Administration will continue to follow the data and allow the wildlife conservation experts—who best understand the issue—to guide New Jersey’s bear management policies.”
According to the most recent report by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, there were 433 bear sightings in New Jersey from January 1 through October 21, up nearly 130% from the same period in 2021. There have also been 1,538 nuisance and damage reports over the same period compared to 457 last year. Altogether it’s a 237% increase.
Although there have been sightings in all 21 counties, Sussex incurred the most incidents, 701, followed by Morris with 411, and Warren with 272. Living in Sussex County, the three legislators pointed out that bear sightings have become so common that most aren’t officially reported.
“This is something we have been calling on the Governor to do since he signed that executive order in 2018 banning the bear hunt on state property,” added Assemblyman Space. “Bears have no natural predators, and without hunting, the number of bears could continue to multiply unchecked. This was the right call by the Administration—they looked at the data and common sense prevailed.”
New Jersey is the nation’s most densely populated state, and with an estimated 5,000 bears, the state also boasts the densest black bear population. Black bears will wander in search of food, and increasing numbers are forcing them to search closer to homes, leading to more contact with people.
“When hunting was banned, we saw a significant rise in bear sightings, property damage, crop damage, animal/human interactions and even cases of pets being hurt or killed,” said Assemblyman Wirths. “By heeding the advice of wildlife experts, the Administration is putting the public’s safety first where it should be. The wildlife scientists know best in these matters, and I trust they will be instrumental in designing a sustainable bear management policy for the future.”