Bear Hunt 2004 Update
New Jersey Supreme Court Blocks Bear Hunt
December 2, 2004 (Trenton) The New Jersey Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Appellate Division and ruled that the black bear hunt cannot take place until a comprehensive management policy for black bear management is formulated by the state's Fish and Game Council and approved by the Commissioner of Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
DEP Commissioner Bradley Campbell had opposed the black bear hunt, refusing to issue permits and contending that the DEP had the authority to overrule the game council. Prior to today's decision, Campbell had succeeded in preventing the hunt from taking place on public lands. He has contended that the state should manage the bear population through contraception and public awareness.
At the time of the ruling, nearly 4,000 permits had been issued.
Judge Orders New Jersey Agency
To Accept Bear Hunt Applications
October 27, 2004 (Trenton) - A New Jersey judge today ordered the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to accept bear permit applications for this year's hunt. The order is the first action taken by the court in response to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation and others to protect this year's bear hunt.
Judge Jane Grall gave Commissioner Bradley Campbell and the DEP until Friday, October 29 at 4:00 p.m. to file their response to the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation's case.
"The judge's order means that sportsmen can continue to apply for the 2004 bear hunt while the lawsuit is being decided,” said Rob Sexton, vice president for government affairs for the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation. "We encourage those who have been hesitant to apply to do so now.”
On October 14, the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation's Sportsmen's Legal Defense Fund (SLDF), along with the New Jersey Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs and three individual sportsmen filed the suit to protect the 2004 bear hunt.
The suit was filed after Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley Campbell ordered the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife to not release 2004 bear hunt permit applications and to not issue permits for the hunt. The independent New Jersey Fish and Game Council, which by statute sets hunting seasons, had earlier in the year authorized a carefully regulated and limited hunt scheduled for December 6 to 11. For additional detail, please visit the NJ Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs at: http://www.njsfsc.org/
Bear Hunt Poised to Move Forward
Despite Government Opposition
Government opposition to the 2004 bear hunt is coming to a head. The hunt is opposed by both the Governor's office and by DEP Commissioner Bradley Campbell, who announced last July that he would not issue permits.
The Commissioner has kept his promise. The Division of Fish & Wildlife, which is responsible for printing the applications, has not received the funds from DEP to print the applications and the permits. The deadline for submitting applications is September 30.
Sportsmen have taken the matter into their own hands. The Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs (ANJRPC) and the NJ Federation of Sportsmen are leading an effort to privately fund what the government refuses to do – print the applications and permits. The ANJRPC has approved a grant to fund printing of the permits.
The Federation has announced that New Jersey Black Bear Hunting Applications will be available from any licensed agent on Sept. 18. Applications are also available online from the Ted Nugent USA web site - http://www.tnusanj.com/. A list of license agents may be found on page # 13 of the 2004 Hunting Issue of the New Jersey Fish & Wildlife Digest.
The hunt is scheduled for December 6-11. Hunters who pass a state-certified safety course would be eligible for a free license and allowed to kill one bear.
There are 10,000 permits available for the hunt area which is north of Rte 78 and west of Rte 287