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Friends of Animals Urges NJ DEP to Stop Bear Hunt

August 18, 2005 | Bears

12 August 2005

Bradley M. Campbell,Commissioner
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
401 East State Street
7th Floor, East Wing
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625

Dear Commissioner Campbell:

Friends of Animals, a national animal advocacy organization with approximately 17,000 New Jersey members, strongly urges the Department of Environmental Protection to forgo the second bear hunt that the New Jersey Fish and Game Council has approved, and to let waste management initiatives work.

We appreciate your effort in West Milford, which received a $200,000 Clean Communities grant from the state to purchase the heavy-duty cans with screw-on lids. But the cans won’t be distributed until autumn -- and only to residents in six communities. [“Bear-proof garbage cans to be tested in West Milford,” New Jersey Record (18 June).]

To determine the effectiveness of bear-proof cans, your department has made “control communities” of the northern section of Upper Greenwood Lake, West Milford Lake, Lindy’s Lake, High Crest Lake and Hi Lo Acres. The department could confirm the effectiveness of these cans by letting them work everywhere. The $200,000 grant should be implemented in conjunction with the educational and prevention initiatives—including a strong
emphasis on proper disposal methods at food outlets, parks, and construction sites, anchored by diligent enforcement—in all affected counties.

You have said: “We all need to play a part in reducing the risk of bear encounters. The place that effort should start is at the trash can.”

We agree.

We also laud the all-volunteer initiative the Bear Education and Resource group recently undertook in Hardyston Township in Sussex County. We believe that these initiatives ought to have a chance to work.

Some of these volunteers are young scouts. Please do not teach them that what adults do is get quickly frustrated with good work, throw our hands up, and resort to violence. Please do not teach them that New Jersey kills what it claims to legally protect. Please do not teach them to disrespect the other native beings that make our region of the country such a wondrous place to grow up and to call home.

It does not make sense to shift from the wisdom of using non-violent
means—means which you rightly supported last year all the way to the state Supreme Court—to throwing up hands and taking up arms.

In all of New Jersey's recorded history, not one human being has been killed or seriously injured by a black bear. Black bears have every interest in avoiding humans, provided humans do not lure them unnecessarily.

Yes, there have been those in Bear Country saying that the authorities are just not doing enough. Wiping out bears might be “doing” something, but it’s not the enlightened thing. Your department has very good recommendations with respect to correct waste bins, bin storage and cleaning practices, bird feeders, air horns, and the proper conduct when encountering a bear. These are effective and appropriate responses when bears become overly interested in us.

In summary, sound waste management, not hunting, will best serve New Jersey and its visitors. And teaching a sound environmental ethic, one that fosters respect and appreciation for our state’s black bears, benefits us all.

Very truly yours,

Friends of Animals


I'm not a hunter but agree that they should allow a bear hunt in NJ .No amount of conservation management will ever be effective in managing the exploding bear population.The increasing bear population moving into very residential areas is like the deer problem in NJ.The prevention of deer culling/hunting in certain NJ counties has let the exploding deer population destroy so much of the habitat for other native species.Hunting is the ONLY effective and humane solution to maintaining a healthly bear and deer population. To watch animals starve and be so sickly due to over population and is the most inhumane site.

Hi Robert, Are there too many bears (and deer) in New Jersey, or too many people imposing on their natural habitat? Hunters, and the wildlife management groups that represent them, claim these animals are overpopulated. Yet they ignore the fact that selective hunting and habitat modification have caused the "problem". And hunting will not solve it. The temporary decrease in hunted populations leads to an increase in their food supply--which in turn favors increased reproduction. Hunters do not kill starving animals. Indeed, in their quest for trophies, they often kill the strongest. Significantly, bears who feed on human garbage (or at bait stations) tend to grow faster; weigh more; have more cubs; and longer lactation periods than bears who feed in their natural habitat. There is nothing humane about hunting. The answer here is proper management of garbage, and respect for the non-human animals who share this planet with us. Ellie Maldonado
Friends of Animals in New York City

There was a bear this summer one block down from me in East Windsor, NJ. All it did was eat some apples from a tree, then it left. The panic and hysteria is all out of proportion and the bear in question was released at Assunpink by the Division of Fish and Wildlife so that people could see it and get crazed. They could have released it in an area less populated in northwest New Jersey, but they are hot on a bear hunt so they can show how macho they are. I think it has been proven that the majority of people do NOT want a hunt. Please listen to us.

I think we should stop hunting every animal on this god-damn planet there is no need for it if we all just stop then there won't be so many disagreements in this world also i think we should boy cot circuses, rodeos, and any non-friendly things people do to animals, it isn't fair just because animals don't have a voice and can't understand you dosn't mean that we have the right to kill and hurt them and i don't see anyone hurting or killing a disabled, deaf or blind person. people who are mean to animals are just gutless and for your information you don't look tough or strong you just look ugly and nasty...

I have seen the bears in Sussex! They are fantastic, our environment must be in good shape, as we in NJ have lots of wonderful creatures that are quite prolific! I think the problem is that people from Urban areas move to our(once rural)suburban areas, and think they have staked claim on their land, and surroundings, not thinking that PERHAPS the humans are encroaching on their territory, not the other way around. So much wildlife here is getting pushed out of their habitat, and people have the gall to comment on the deer, bear, fox, etc. "problem". I say to them, "You came to their house, they didn't come to yours!" My latest idea...all of us against the bear hunt, go get a bear licence, once the alloted amount is distributed no one else can buy one, that means less actual hunters. Use your licence to go scare them away from the line of fire, wear bright orange!!!

well.... I'm so glad I found this web site!Hello fellow animal lovers! I'm in Roosevelt , nj.I live next to Assunpink wildlife reserve management park. Sure you think that's great! No. They have woods and deer and 2 black bears!But..this stupid , ranger station does NOT help animals. They have deer and moose heads on thier office walls!They kill and stuff animals!They say there are too many deer and have to be killed off!They bother the farmers. I love this's's small...The deer come through my yard! Never have I lived in such a wonderful place, but...the animals MUST BE SAVED!The mayor even wanted to fine anyone caught feeding the stray animals and cats! We do it anyway.

WHEN YOU PEOPLE STOP GOING TO THE GROCERY STORE TO BUY YOUR MEAT THAT SOMEONE HAS KILLED FOR YOU, THEN YOU CAN TALK TO ME ABOUT NOT HUNTING. EVER BEEN TO A SLAUGHTER HOUSE? NOT PRETTY! I TRULY FEEL FOR THOSE "DOMESTICATED" TRUSTING ANIMALS THAT HAVE NO CHANCE. LET'S FACE IT FOLKS, ANIMALS ARE NECESSARY FOR OUR SURVIVAL I FOR ONE PREFER TO AQUIRE MY PROTEIN BY HUNTING THEREBY GIVING THE ANIMAL A SPORTING CHANCE AT SEEING ANOTHER DAY BESIDES GUESS WHAT PEOPLE, GOD PUT THEM HERE NOT AS PETS BUT FOR FOOD. CRUEL? THEN DON'T EAT MEAT. SIMPLY MIND YOUR BUSINESS AND LET US MIND OURS. [Blog editors' note: Thank you for writing in. Don't eat meat is right answer. Friends of Animals already encourages people to eat a plant-based diet. Consuming the flesh of other animals is not necessary for our survival, and you can acquire all the protein you need from non-animal sources. Whether a person believes in a deity of or not, there is no need to treat other animals as food or pets. Catherine MacKinnon asked in "Of Mice and Men" what other animals want from us, if anything other than to be let alone. Maybe the answer to that question is for humanity to mind its own business and let the non-human animals mind theirs. Surely that would mean that we shouldn't hunt or raise them as food, or breed them to be our pets.]

Dear Commissioner: I don't beleive in today's hunting, I beleive that it was hunting back when people hunted for food and used bows and arrows. Today, people have guns with telescopic lenses, and binoculars, it takes no creativity, no honor, it is sickening. People that hunt for the "game" of it?? What game, what is the difference between what these hunters do and someone that kills people for the thrill? Nothing! People are killing bears because they just want an excuse to go out there and kill something. Blaming everything on the bears when we are the ones that are taking their homes away!Leave the Damn bears (and deer)alone, they were here first, stop cutting down trees to build homes and shopping malls and maybe they would have somewhere to go!! For God's sake people, wake up! Our survival depends on their survival!

I don't understand the concept of hunting!! What kind of sport, is it anyway? So, you can kill a defenseless animal - that should really make you feel good!! I understand killing an animal if you really need the food, but for sport, come on. I think we should give a gun to the Deer and Bears and let them kill the hunters - that would be funny!! [ Blog editors' note: Hello, Karen. The state officials are saying that the six-day black bear hunt slated to take place next month in New Jersey is meant to deal with a perceived bear overpopulation. We want everyone - New Jersey's bears and humans - to remain unharmed. A poster produced by the state's environmental department says the first thing people can do to mitigate problems with bears is to proper waste disposal. If this is the best protection for communities that fear for their safety, why isn't the department working to make it possible? While bear-proof waste canisters have been purchased by the department for West Milford communities, the bins are being denied to other communities so that the state can run a test. Friends of Animals' bear consultant, Winthrop Staples III, a Wildlife Technician at Alaska's Denali National Park and Preserve, said: "The apparent slow pace of getting bear resistant containers in widespread use in New Jersey is practically and morally very disturbing. In plain language, someone is liable to be killed by a bear because the [New Jersey] political class is too timid to mandate bear proof containers. This would be an opportune time for public servants to display some strong safeguarding of human food in New Jersey." Friends of Animals]

With 756 reported 'bear incidents' in NJ in 2004, only one of which [posed a risk to] a human, the number of NJ deaths caused by smoking, IN ONE MONTH, far exceeds the risk posed by our bears. If our lawmakers are intent on protecting our lives here in our state, why don't they finally institute a ban on public smoking? 53,000 people, mostly women, die every year in NJ JUST from second-hand smoke. Save the Bears! Stop Smoking!


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