New Jersey Assemblyman Anthony Chiappone this month introduced two bills in that would ban black bear hunting in that state and require the New Jersey Fish and Game Council to study alternatives to hunting to control the black bear population.
Assembly Bill 2634 reads in part that,
The Fish and Game Council shall, within 18 months after the date of enactment of this act, conduct a study setting forth (1) the status and management of the black bear population in the State, (2) an analysis of the population growth of black bear in the State, and (3) information on the availability, effectiveness, and implementation of alternative black bear population control methods, reproductive control methods, and sterilization control methods. Upon completion of this study, the State Fish and Game Council shall submit a written report to the Department of Environmental Protection, the Governor, and both Houses of the Legislature.
And just to show that he’s serious about making sure the matter gets thoroughly studied, Chiappone’s bill would allocate the sum of $95,000 to the Fish and Game Council for said study.
The full text of Assembly Bill 2634 can be read here.
Chiappone also introduced Assembly Bill 2704 which would simply ban bear hunting, period, and set up a group separate from the Fish and Game Council to manage black bear populations in the state. That bill has some interesting language (emphasis added),
There is established a Black Bear Study Commission, which shall comprise 11 members as follows: two veterinarians licensed in the State of New Jersey, having experience with black bears, who shall be appointed by the Governor; a representative of the Humane Society of the United States, who shall be appointed by that organization; a representative of the Bear Education and Resource Group, who shall be appointed by that organization; a representative of persons residing in those areas of the State where black bear are regularly found, who shall be appointed by the governing body of West Milford Township in Passaic County; a representative of the Sierra Club, who shall be appointed by that organization; a representative of the Mountain Preservation Society, who shall be appointed by that organization; a member of the Nature Preservation Council, who shall be appointed by that organization; a representative of the Farm Bureau, who shall be appointed by that organization; an animal control officer having experience with black bears, who shall be appointed by the governor; and a representative of the Department of Environmental Protection, who shall be appointed by that agency. The Governor shall appoint the Chair.
Now there’s a great idea — give an animal rights group like HSUS a permanent position on a council that for the next five years would play a major role in setting bear management policies.
This writer wholeheartedly agrees with U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance field director Tony Celebrezze who said in a press release on the bills that,
These bills eliminate science from wildlife management, eradicating the bear hunt without presenting a scientific or biological basis for doing so. Hunting is the most effective bear management tool and it should not be discarded because of the emotional rhetoric of anti-hunters.
The full text of Assembly Bill 2704 can be read here.
New Jersey bills will prohibit black bear hunt. Press Release, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, May 14, 2004.