Black Bear


Governor Murphy recently issued an executive order to stop the black bear hunt on New Jersey state lands. Make no mistake. This will not save one bear. This is not a good thing. We shouldn’t look at this as “at least he did something.” This is unacceptable.

Despite what he has said (and what he’s being told), he CAN stop the hunt on ALL lands in New Jersey. New Jersey’s governor has broad powers to issue executive orders. H can issue an executive order to stop the hunt. Period. He could also end the hunt by settling the lawsuit filed by Animal Protection League of New Jersey and the League of Humane Voters of New Jersey.  He has options. See below for a Q&A about this issue.

1. Contact Governor Murphy now at 609-292-6000 or @GovMurphy. Do not let him hide behind a 2005 court decision that does NOT affect his powers. Demand he stop the hunt on all New Jersey lands

2. Contact your legislators ( Ask them to support the following black bear protection bill:

S2769/A2455 (Pedals’ Law). It would end the hunt for 5 years while nonlethal programs are implemented; ban bear baiting and require bear proof garbage cans. Go here for more action and legislation:

3. Get involved. We, and the bears, need you. Help us educate the public. Support us financially so we can continue our work to permanently protect black bears. Sign up for our email list by emailing

4. For the latest information and up-to-date actions needed, like us on Facebook.

Can Governor Murphy stop the New Jersey bear hunt?

Yes! Doris Lin, Esq., staff attorney for Animal Protection League of NJ 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). He could also end the hunt by settling the lawsuit filed by the League of Humane Voters of NJ and the Animal Protection League of NJ.

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.

(Doris Lin, Esq., has stopped the bear hunt in court, and proved that the 2005 hunt was illegal. With APLNJ as the plaintiff, she is currently sueing the NJ DEP, the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, and the NJ Fish and Game Council to invalidate the 2015 bear hunt policy, which is still in existence. We will keep you posted as it progresses.)