Oct 15 2009 -
NJ News Day
SCI (Safari Club International) and the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsman's Clubs filed a lawsuit against the state this week in order to force the states Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection to make a decision on a new black bear management policy that includes hunting as a means of population control.
Until a management plan has been signed into law, no black bear hunts can take place in New Jersey.
In 2006, both groups filed a similar suit when the former DEP Commissioner Lisa Jackson and Gov. Jon Corzine cancelled the black bear hunt arbitrarily and suddenly withdrawing the 2005 Black Bear Policy that had been enacted.
In 2007, the court invalidated the 2005 Black Bear Policy because it had not been properly adopted in the first place, but disagreed with the Commissioner's authority over pulling the policy. At that point, New Jersey had no approved black bear management plan, and the black bear population has exploded as a result.
The Court directed the Commissioner and Council to work together to formulate a new black bear management policy, and told Safari Club International and the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsman's Clubs Inc. to return to court should the parties reach an impasse. That impasse has now occurred according to Safari Club International.
"A well regulated hunt is essential for the sound and responsible management of black bear in New Jersey and for the safety of the general public. The goal of our lawsuit is simply to put legal pressure on the Commissioner and the Council to take the necessary action to adopt a Black Bear Policy. Forcing action on a policy will allow the Council , the people entrusted under New Jersey law to manage wildlife, to decide whether a hunt is both the appropriate means of managing the state's bear population and a valued recreational experience, SCI President Larry Rudolph said.