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2 groups plan suit to stop bear hunt

Saturday, November 26, 2005 bergen record

By RICHARD COWEN
STAFF WRITER


Two animal rights groups plan to file a lawsuit to stop New Jersey's imminent black bear hunt, arguing that until the state has a more accurate estimate of the bruin population, it can't allow sportsmen to shoot them.

The suit, being prepared by the New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance and the Bear Education and Resource Group of West Milford, says the state's newly adopted 2005 Black Bear Management Policy falls "woefully short" of the scientific data needed to justify another hunt. It takes issue with the state's goal of reducing the black bear population to the 2002 level, when it was estimated there were between 1,600 and 3,200 black bear in New Jersey.

The suit contends that population estimate is far too broad and based on old information. Without a fresh, more accurate population count, the complaint argues, the state Fish and Game Council cannot justify another bear hunt. Last year's state Supreme Court ruling said the hunt must be based on adequate "scientific investigation and research."

The suit is expected to be filed Monday morning in Superior Court in Mercer County. A copy of the lawsuit was obtained by The Record on Friday.

"The state has been saying there are too many bears," said Stu Chaifetz, the wildlife director of the New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance.

"Yet they don't know how many bears there are. It doesn't make sense."

Named as defendants in the suit are Environmental Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell and the state Fish and Game Council, which worked together to write the new Black Bear Management Policy. The state Supreme Court cited New Jersey's outdated bear management policy as the main reason it wouldn't allow last year's proposed bear hunt to go forward.

Campbell signed off on the new bear management policy two weeks ago. Now comes the expected challenge from New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance and the BEAR group, which are looking to stop New Jersey's second bear hunt in three years. The 2003 hunt killed 328 bears.

THE LAWSUIT

A lawsuit by animal rights activists aims to stop New Jersey's bear hunt. The groups say they'll file the lawsuit Monday morning. The suit will say:


New Jersey can't go forward with the hunt because the state doesn't have a firm grasp on the number of bears.


The state's new bear management policy isn't specific about how much money will be spent on alternatives to hunting, such as education.


The plan doesn't set a target number of bears to be killed in the 2005 hunt.

The new policy points out that hunting is necessary because bear complaints have been on the rise since the 2003 hunt. But in the suit, the animal rights groups cite evidence that holding an annual bear hunt doesn't necessarily guarantee a drop in bear complaints. As an example, the suit cites Pennsylvania, where bear complaints rose every year between 1998 and 2002, despite the state holding an annual hunt.

W. Scott Ellis, a member of the state Fish and Game Council and one of the primary authors of the new policy, said Friday that the legal challenge was expected. Ellis said it was impossible for the state to come up with the exact number of black bears in New Jersey - and the state Supreme Court didn't require a new population study to be undertaken.

Ellis said the new policy contains "general guidelines" for bear management that includes trash maintenance, experiments in contraceptive programs, education and hunting. He said there was a difference between a policy and a plan. The role of the Fish and Game Council is to set the goals and general direction, he said. The nuts and bolts of the plan can come later, he said.

"This is just a guide of what we need to do," Ellis said. "Not a plan on how we have to do it."

E-mail: [email protected]
 

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If the bear hunt is stopped and something happens to a child, pet, livestock or property damage. "We the People" should file lawsuits against all members of the same organizations for damages.
 

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If the bear hunt is stopped and something happens to a child, pet, livestock or property damage. "We the People" should file lawsuits against all members of the same organizations for damages.
Heck, we've already had 2 out of 3; Thank God no child has been injured yet. The livestock and property damage is already well documented.
 

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Yes, but it hasn't cost them anything out of thier OWN pocket yet. It may be time to make it personal. If THEY want the bear hunt stopped, THEY should pay for any and all damages.
 

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now there should be lawsuits over someone getting hurt by a bear? That's part of nature....what happens if a kid gets struck by lightening? Sue God?????
Idiots!
 

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"Sue God"????

You Liberal Leaf EatinG Tree Huggers don't believe in GOD.
 

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I thought we voted to ban NBK and all the garbage like him/her that is smelling up this site. I hope it happens soon so this place gets back to normal.


When was PETA invited??? [down]
 

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now there should be lawsuits over someone getting hurt by a bear?
I truly believe that this would happen and I think thats why NJ got the first bear hunt. In this sue happy world, it would happen. If a bear hunt was scheduled to help reduce bear to human conflict and the hunt was cancelled, then some child gets mauled to death in its back yard, you can be sured that the parents would sue the state and NJ Fish & Game for not holding the hunt to 'protect' the general population from bears. Now they WON'T sue the people that CAUSED the hunt to be stopped, just the state which will have to spend your tax dollars to defend itself. Its a [email protected] shame. Just let the division do its job and get the bear numbers under control. I would never hunt bears myself, but others that would like too should have the opportunity to do so if the professionals at Fish and Game say its appropriate. I hope you all get this chance. Im afraid once crookzine gets sworn in, its over until he's gone. [down]
 
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