Sunday, September 2, 2007

New Jersey bear hunt goes to court

For or against, when it comes to the controversial question of a New Jersey bear hunt, the folks who run the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) can be sure of one thing: they're going to get sued.

The proof of that will be demonstrated on Tuesday when the Department finds itself before a three-member state appellate court defending its positions on both sides of the question. Yes, both sides.

How's that possible? It turns out that, in 2005, then DEP Commisssioner Bradley Campbell allowed a bear hunt and was then sued by the New Jersey Animal Rights Association. The group accuses the state of falsifying numbers and statistics to justify a hunt when it put together the 2005 black bear management plan.

Campbell's successor, Lisa Jackson, taking her cues from incoming governor (and bear hunt opponent) Jon Corzine, withdrew the department's support for the 2005 plan, effectively killing the planned 2006 bear hunt. A group of state sportsmen then filed suit, hoping to reverse the DEP's reversal.

Confused? A story on the upcoming hearing that appeared in Sunday's New Jersey Herald might set you straight.

For more on the New Jersey bear hunt, pro and con, check out:
Bear Hunt Banned (Outdoor Life)
NJ Bears Need Permanent, Legal Protection (BEAR Education and Resource Group)
Bear Facts for New Jersey (NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife)

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