TRENTON, New Jersey – There will be no black bear hunting in New Jersey this fall for the first time in over a decade, due to the lack of a bear management policy required to conduct the hunt.
The state’s Fisheries and Wildlife Division posted on its website that the comprehensive black bear management policy required by a 2007 state Supreme Court ruling expired on Wednesday.
“No black bear hunt can take place without a properly promulgated CBBMP, proposed by the New Jersey Fish and Game Council and approved by the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection,” the post said.
Contacted on Wednesday, a DEP spokesperson did not provide additional information on the cancellation of the hunt.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy pledged to end bear hunting when he ran for governor in 2017, and the following year he stopped bear hunting on public lands. which fall under the competence of the DEP.
Bear hunting was reintroduced to New Jersey in 2003 to control the growing bear population, after a hiatus of almost three decades. It has been held annually since 2010 and faces ongoing legal challenges from animal welfare organizations.
In 2015, Republican Gov. Chris Christie added a second annual hunt in October to the existing hunt in December, increased the number of hunting licenses and allowed bow hunting.