NJ Governor Bans Bear Hunting on State Land

Gov. Phil Murphy  of New Jersey issued an executive order that banned bear hunting on land managed by the state. By doing this he takes a step forward to fulfill one of his big campaign promises. The first year Democrat made bear hunting a big issue during last years campaign promising to ban it out right.

According to Fox News, the Governor stopped short of unilaterally ending the hunt altogether, saying he doesn’t have the authority. He is now calling on the state legislature to make moves to finish what he started.

“I am fulfilling my commitment to stop the bear hunt to the greatest extent of my authority by ordering the Department of Environmental Protection to prevent bear hunting on all public lands under the DEP’s jurisdiction,” Murphy said in a statement.

Cody McLaughlin, a trustee with the nonprofit New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, which opposes efforts to stop the hunt, estimated that about three-fifths of hunters use public lands when hunting various quarry.

He said Murphy’s decision ignored scientific studies that show hunting is an effective means of population control, particularly in densely populated New Jersey.

“Honestly, I’m a little shocked and distressed,” McLaughlin said.

Steve Rinella weighed in on the topic by posting this to the Meat Eater Facebook page.

In a move that blatantly caters to anti-hunters and ignores science-based conservation tools, New Jersey’s governor outlawed bear hunting on the state’s public lands. This undermines the ability of wildlife managers to do their job and prevents hunters from enjoying their public lands. Meanwhile, “State officials have estimated around 3,500 bears live in northern New Jersey, and… that New Jersey has the densest bear populations on the continent.”

Steve is absolutely right. This decision slaps science in the face and severely limits the tool box of state biologists. Hopefully the state legislature will not follow suit and ban it out right, but resend the executive order and reinstate a science based approached to conservation.