When Governor Phil Murphy was on the campaign trail, I remember him constantly vowing to stop the Bear hunt. Now several months into his gubernatorial reign, it appears not much might change with the current bear hunt situation after all! Bears are a big part of life here for me in Vernon, Sussex County and many other parts of Jersey. The Bear hunt has been very controversial as New Jersey Division Of Fish & Wildlife are trying to manage population control. I have seen many reports that state the most common killer of Black Bears ---- are Black Bears themselves.
While the bear hunt has been expanded for population control, adding dates in October to the original one week December hunt, the controversy surrounding it has grown too. The controversy may be at an all time high now, due to Pedals The Bear being killed in the October 2016 hunt. Due to an injury on his front paws, Pedals The Bear walked upright just like humans and gained national fame. State officials responded to the controversy reminding everyone that Bears are not pets, but wild animals. While I agree with our state officials, I do feel that Pedals was unfairly targeted.
Is the Bear Hunt working? Should they continue with both October and December dates, or scale back down to just December if the hunt is working? My feelings on the Bear hunt? I defer to wildlife experts on this one. Yes, we've had the running joke on my culture shock, moving from Boston where there weren't any Bears to what I call the unofficial Black Bear Capital Of America. I'll admit with my many BEAR encounters over the past 4.5 years, only one has bluff charged me while I was on my deck. That being said, one can be the loneliest number, and it only takes one! The NJ state officials are making it seem like they're not making changes to the hunt, and you can see more about this by clicking here.