This year's bear hunt could be New Jersey's last

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- This year's bear hunt might be New Jersey's last -- at least if Gov. Phil Murphy can help it.

He said Monday that the New Jersey Fish and Game Council has proposed an amendment that would suspend the bear hunt starting next year.

"With today's announcement, we will end the bear hunt under my Administration and develop a new black bear policy that keeps public safety at the forefront of our concerns while protecting wildlife in the State," said Governor Murphy. "I am grateful to the Fish and Game Council for their commitment to working with the Department of Environmental Protection to address this issue and chart a better way forward."

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Supporters of the bear hunt argue it is necessary to control the bear population.

But the governor says non-lethal methods can be used instead.

"New Jersey's Bear Hunt has had the reputation of being one of the cruelest bear hunts in the country," said Sen. Vin Gopal. "I am very thankful to Governor Murphy for making 2020's Bear Hunt the last one ever in the state of New Jersey. This inhumane practice has gone on far too long, and it is time to eliminate it in its entirety on public and private lands."

The rules proposed Monday are subject to a 60-day comment period.

In August 2018, Murphy signed an executive order that prohibited bear hunting in all state forests, state parks, state recreation areas, state historic sites, state Wildlife Management Areas and state natural areas.

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