Environmental groups have lost a legal challenge to a six-day bear hunt scheduled for New Jersey beginning Monday. There are an estimated 3,500 black bears in New Jersey, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection, and it is likely that 600 of them will be harvested in next week’s hunt. During last year’s hunt, 592 black bears were killed.
Environmental groups object to the bear hunt because they say it could decimate the black bear population in New Jersey, since it comes on the heels of a 2010 bear hunt. Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, says the hunt does not address the true problem of nuisance bears, which is dealing with garbage, and the state does not have a true bear management program in place. Tittel says the bear hunt will not reduce nuisance bears but is more likely to take out docile bears that live in hunting areas.
Although most New Jersey bears live in the northwestern portion of the state, they have been sighted in all 21 of New Jersey’s counties. The DEP offers an online map of where bears are prevalent.