New Jersey Black Bears

We still need to act for NJ’s Black Bears

Thank you to everyone who is fighting to protect our bears. A huge majority of us want to live in harmony and co-exist peacefully with our bears. The facts say we can. The science says we can. And we owe the bears this and much more.

Governor Murphy’s 2019 bear hunt is over. At the culmination of the hunt on Saturday, 315 bears died in October’s and December’s hunt. Throughout the hunt, we saw Division of Fish and Wildlife employees smiling and welcoming bear hunters without a thought of any the lives taken. It’s not over. Never give up fighting.

Call Governor Murphy and ask him to end bear hunting in New Jersey, but also ask him why these hunters matter more to him than everyone else. Let him know that you know he can stop the hunt. No more excuses. 609-292-6000. Tweet @GovMurphy #SaveNJBears and tag the governor in all of your social media posts.


Through our outreach presentations detailing how to become a Bear Smart Community we educate residents about bears, reduce unwarranted fears and increase tolerance of our bear neighbors. Our protection and education objectives foster a peaceful coexistence and replace fear with respect and understanding.

Murphy Could Have Stopped the 2019 NJ Black Bear Hunt

In 2018, Governor Murphy issued an executive order to stop the black bear hunt on New Jersey state lands.

Despite what he has said, that he doesn’t have the power to stop it completely (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 and he can issue one to stop the hunt. 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. 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

3. 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 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.