Bear Group

Game Code Comments

Thank you to everyone who submitted comments for the 2020-2021 game code. The deadline was December 4, 2020. We should know the results in April. Still waiting.

2021 CALL TO ACTION

Bear advocacy is critical until bears are permanently protected. Please continue the fight! Our education must continue until all residents become Bear Smart champions. We need everyone to pitch in to make this happen.

  • Email Gov. Murphy Tell his staff that we support him and his desire to end the hunt.
  • Refute bear lies. Whenever and wherever (newspaper, social media, radio, etc.) you see lies about bears, please counter it by commenting or writing a letter to the editor. See more information below on letter writing.
  • Use these facts:
    • Bear hunts are cruel and do not reduce complaints or incidents.
    • Bear Smart initiatives (education, garbage control, and other nonlethal methods) are the only solution. Visit www.BearSmartNJ.org for more information.
  • Hold Banner Protests. Two or more people and a good location are all that’s needed for a successful banner protest. Contact Doreen.Frega@aplnj.org for a banner.
  • Tweet Governor Murphy: @GovMurphy #SaveNJBears
  • Support Priority Legislation: A4641 – Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33) introduced a new bill to strengthen the current feeding ban law, which will reduce complaints and incidents with black bears. Please visit www.aplnj.org/black-bears/ to help enact this legislation.
    Find your legislators here.
  • Get involved and STAY involved. Help us educate the public and support us financially so we can continue our work to permanently protect black bears. Contact Doreen.Frega@aplnj.org to join us at educational outreach events.

Follow the Bear Group on Facebook!

Follow us here to stay up-to-date on everything that is happening with our bears, the hunt, and most importantly, important actions we will ask you to take. Facebook helps us educate residents about the true nature of bears and cultivate activism. We are always looking for volunteers.

Write pro-bear letters to the editor

Letters have a huge impact on policy makers. For every person who writes a letter, they know that thousands of other people feel the same way. Letters are also free advertising for black bear protection in New Jersey! Keep your letters and comments short.

  • Bear hunts are cruel and are useless at reducing complaints and incidences.
  • Bear Smart initiatives (education, garbage control, and other nonlethal methods) are the only solution. Go here for more information.

When you are published, we will also post your letter to the Bear Group Facebook page!

  1. Asbury Park Press [Neptune]: yourviews@app.com
  2. Burlington County Times: gbarrett@phillyburbs.com
  3. Courier News: cnletters@mycentraljersey.com
  4. Courier Post: cpedit@courierpostonline.com
  5. The Daily Journal: djopinion@thedailyjournal.com
  6. Daily Record: letters@dailyrecord.com
  7. Gloucester County Times: letters@southjerseymedia.com
  8. Hammonton Gazette: grullo@hammontongazette.com
  9. Herald News: hnletters@northjersey.com
  10. Home News Tribune: hntletters@mycentraljersey.com
  11. Jersey Journal: jjletters@jjournal.com
  12. New Jersey Herald: letters@njherald.com
  13. Newark Star Ledger: eletters@starledger.com
  14. Philadelphia Inquirer: chenry@phillynews.com or inquirer.letters@phillynews.com
  15. Press of Atlantic City: letters@pressofac.com
  16. The Record: letterstotheeditor@northjersey.com
  17. Salem Sunbeam: southletters@southjerseymedia.com
  18. South Jersey Times: letters@southjerseymedia.com
  19. The Times of Trenton: letters@njtimes.com
  20. The Trentonian: letters@trentonian.com

Remember Murphy’s October 5, 2020 Announcement

Governor Murphy announced on October 5, 2020 that this will be the last bear hunt, but he refused to stop the October and December hunts by Executive Order.

Bear Group is part of the Coalition to Protect New Jersey Black Bears, a broad group of state and national organizations dedicated to black bear protection.

Coalition to Protect New Jersey Black Bears Response Statement

While the coalition applauds the sentiment of Governor Murphy’s pledge to cancel the bear hunt next year, we urge the Governor to use the executive powers available to him and issue an immediate suspension of this year’s needless trophy hunt, which began on October 12th. The hunt allows the use of razor tipped arrows and muzzleloaders (lasts six days) that inflict deep and painful wounds, gashes, and hemorrhages on these large animals and their cubs – underscoring that this year’s hunt is especially gratuitous and cruel.

Black bears peacefully coexist with millions of humans in the United States. It is our hope that Bear Smart trash management programs effectively used in Western states, yet currently hindered from use in New Jersey by the DEP, will finally be put into place in New Jersey. We remain cognizant of the reality that the New Jersey Fish and Game Council will likely oppose the Governor’s pledge; hence, his authority to stop all trophy hunting of black bears and its extreme parameters is the more important at this crucial time.

The coalition again calls on Governor Murphy to issue an executive order suspending the 2020 bear trophy hunting sessions to protect public health at a time when infections are spiking in New Jersey and across the country. New Jersey encouraging out of state hunters to come to our state at this time is highly irresponsible.

Coalition members:

Animal Legal Defense Fund, Animal Protection League of New Jersey, Bear Group, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of Animals United New Jersey, Humane Rescue Alliance/St. Hubert’s, The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, Jersey Shore Wildlife Rescue, League of Humane Voters of New Jersey, Lesniak Institute for American Leadership, New Jersey Voters for Animals, People for Animals, Inc., Sierra Club, New Jersey Chapter, South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter

Can Governor Murphy stop the New Jersey bear hunt?

Yes! Doris Lin, Esq., staff attorney for Animal Protection League of New Jersey has answered questions many of us have right now about this issue:

Q: So why does Murphy’s press release say that he can’t stop it?
Doris Lin: The press release INCORRECTLY states that the governor is limited by a 2005 State Supreme Court decision. However, that court decision applies only to the commissioner who approves a bear policy. The 2005 Supreme Court decision does not apply to the governor. The decision also says nothing about a new incoming commissioner who was not involved with the previous administration’s bear policy. U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation v. NJDEP, 182 N.J. 461 (2005).

Q: Why is the governor’s executive order about state lands only?
DL: Since the state is the owner of the state lands, the state can decide whether to allow hunting, just as any private landowner can decide whether to allow hunting on their land. Safari Club Int’l v. NJDEP, 373 N.J. Super. 515 (App. Div 2004).

Q: How can Governor Murphy stop the bear hunt?
DL: The governor has broad powers to issue executive orders, and Murphy could issue an executive order. Kenny v. Byrne, 144 N.J.Super. 243 (App. Div., 1976).

Q: How did Governor Whitman and Governor Corzine stop the bear hunt during their administrations?
DL: Governor Whitman asked the Fish & Game Council to cancel the bear hunt in 2000, which put political pressure on them, and they canceled it. During the Corzine administration, the DEP Commissioner canceled the bear hunt in 2006, and the lawsuit by NJ Animal Rights Alliance and the BEAR Group canceled the bear hunt in 2007. That same 2007 court decision held that the 2005 bear hunt was illegal. After the 2007 court decision, the Fish & Game Council dropped their attempt to get a bear hunt approved by the Corzine administration. NJ Animal Rights Alliance v. NJDEP, 396 N.J. Super. 358 (App. Div. 2007).

Q: Did you give this information to the governor?
DL: Yes, we had a conference call with the governor’s policy advisor and his attorneys. Despite the plain words from the court, they disagreed with us.

Q: If he can stop the hunt, and he promised to stop the hunt, why doesn’t he?
DL: We can only guess at the many political forces that may be at work here, but the law in this area is not the reason.