News Department

District 24 lawmakers commend decision to extend bear hunt for next five years

NEW JERSEY– Senator Steven Oroho and Assemblymen Parker Space and Hal Wirths (all R-24) commended the New Jersey Fish and Game Council for its decision to allow bear hunting until at least 2028.

“Hunting is an important part of the comprehensive set of practices that the state employs to manage the black bear population and minimize danger to people and property,” Oroho said. “The action by the NJ Fish and Game Council is warranted and I hope the Murphy Administration will continue to follow the data as they rightfully did last year and allow the wildlife conservation experts to guide New Jersey’s bear management policies.”

Since the bear hunt was reinstated, DEP data shows a 32% drop in bear activity, including sightings and encounters, from Jan. 1 through Aug. 21 of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.

“Bears have no natural predators, and without hunting, the number of bears could continue to multiply unchecked,” Space said. “This was the right call by the Fish and Game Council—they took this issue seriously, studied the data, and made the right decision.”

New Jersey is the nation’s most densely populated state, and with an estimated 5,000 bears, the state also boasts the densest black bear population. Black bears will wander in search of food, and increasing numbers are forcing them to search closer to homes, leading to more contact with people.

“When hunting was banned, we saw a significant rise in bear sightings, property damage, crop damage, animal/human interactions and even cases of pets being hurt or killed,” Wirths said. “The wildlife scientists know best in these matters and I trust they will be instrumental in designing a sustainable bear management policy for the foreseeable future.”

The decision to extend the bear hunt by the Fish and Game Council will still need to be approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection commissioner, Shawn LaTourette.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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