The hunt was originally set for December 5-10
NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- Any New Jerseyans who were hoping to sing "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" and mean it this year, are going to have to wait for another day.
An appeals court judge issued a stay, halting the black bear hunt less than a week before it was set to start.
In November, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy requested the bear hunt be reinstated after previously opposing it, due to an increase in bear sightings in the state.
Some wildlife officials predict New Jersey's bear population could grow to more than 4,000 over the next two years. However, the lawsuit that prompted the stay claims bear-related incidents are not abnormally high.
The lawsuit was filed by groups including the Animal Protection League of New Jersey, the Humane Society of the United States, and Friends of Animals. It alleges that the state illegally used its emergency powers without public input.
The hunt was originally set for December 5-10. It is now expected to be on hold as the judge considers the lawsuit and a hears response from the state.