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I took this off the other hunting site. this is the first I heard of this. has anyone else see this?

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The state's environmental chief has final say over whether a bear hunt can take place in New Jersey, not the council that planned the hunt, the state's highest court ruled Monday.

The decision by the state Supreme Court gave Environmental Commissioner Bradley Campbell his second victory in the most recent spat over bear hunting in the Garden State.

Bradley successfully opposed a hunt late last year after the Fish and Game Council had approved one. He was bolstered by a high court decision that said the state needed to adopt a comprehensive bear management policy before a hunt could take place.

But the court in its December ruling that nixed the hunt set aside the issue of whether Campbell could refuse to issue hunting permits after the council had approved a hunt.

The hunt would have been the state's second in 34 years. Proponents argued the hunt was needed to thin the bear population because of the increasing contact between bears and humans, mostly in the northern areas of the state.

The court's 7-0 decision issued Monday reversed a lower court ruling that said the volunteer council could decide who may hunt New Jersey's black bears.

State statutes on the environment intend "to create a unified approach to conservation and environmental protection under the authority of the Commissioner," the decision said.

The council's action "exists within a larger universe of comprehensive environmental policies. If the Council does not act in accord with those policies, the Commissioner is empowered to intervene," the judges ruled.

In 2003, hunters killed 328 animals over a six-day period.

Campbell has said a bear contraception program could better manage the population, and that people who reside in areas where bears live need better safety education.
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