Montclair, NJ – It’s not exactly bear country, but Montclair has had its share of bear sightings over the years, most recently in May 2022, when a bear was safely removed from Union Street after a morning of roaming through backyards near the library with no harm to the bear.
Gov. Phil Murphy made news recently when he announced a decision to again allow hunters to shoot bears, reversing a pledge he had made to end the hunts.
“Every community deserves to feel safe. While I committed to end the bear hunt, the data is clear. Our black bear population is growing,” said Murphy. “We must change course to prevent tragic bear-human interactions by reinstating a regulated black bear hunt in December.”
The hunt was suspended on state lands in 2018 to provide an opportunity to evaluate the feasibility of exclusively using non-lethal measures to maintain the population in a manner that is protective of the public’s safety. With the expiration of the Comprehensive Black Bear Management Plan in 2021, no bear hunting has taken place on any lands in New Jersey since 2020.
Discussion of the change took place at a Fish and Game Council meeting in Trenton on Tuesday. Humane Montclair founder Annette Batson spoke out, calling the decision “a tyrannical response to a fabricated problem.”
The first hunt is expected to take place December 5-10. If the 20% population harvest target is not reached, the season will be extended to the following week, December 14 through December 17. Bear hunting will be permitted on state and private lands within designated bear hunting zones.
To take action in support of New Jersey black bears:
* Call the Governor’s office at 609-292-6000 and express your opposition to the black bear hunt. You can also submit written comment here.
* Call your New Jersey legislators— both your senator and your Assembly members— and ask them to sign onto A.1967/S.1891. This is Bear Smart legislation which has overwhelming bipartisan support with 28 sponsors and would do some of the actions which the Governor has failed to implement.