SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ – An encounter with a black bear on her own property sent an 81-year-old Sussex County woman to the hospital and claimed the life of her pet dog this week, and District 24 lawmakers say Governor Murphy’s deference to political considerations is at fault.
“How many more times will the Murphy Administration allow this to happen before they finally leave wildlife management to the professionals?” asked Senator Steve Oroho. “The experts should be determining a sound bear management policy for New Jersey. Instead, the Administration has settled on a politically motivated policy that is dangerous and irresponsible.
“A controlled hunt helps stabilize the bear population and when it was employed it showed it works,” Oroho continued. “So let’s leave the decision to the wildlife management professionals and not to the whims of politicians.”
According to published reports, the Sparta resident allowed her two dogs to go outside, not realizing a pair of adult black bears had gotten into her garbage cans. After one dog was injured, the owner attempted to frighten off the bears, but was herself hurt in the attack.
“As serious as it was, this could have been much worse,” said Assemblyman Parker Space. “Things went bad in a hurry, and that is exactly what can happen when there are too many bears in the wild and they encroach on residential areas in search of food. The Governor’s prohibition on bear hunting is contributing to this growing problem, making more potentially deadly interactions inevitable.”
In October 2020, Governor Murphy announced it would be “the last bear hunt under my administration.”
“The Governor is obviously more interested in keeping his campaign promise to political allies than protecting New Jersey residents,” said Assemblyman Hal Wirths. “Without a safe hunt to control the bear population, we’re going to continue to see more cases of people being hurt or killed. This stubbornness is putting lives at risk and there is no excuse for it. Governor Murphy needs to follow the science and allow for a bear hunt.”