Former New Jersey Senator Suing Governor Over Decision To Reinstate Bear Hunting

by Megan Molseed
(Getty Images/mlorenzphotography)

Recently, New Jersey has seen a marked increase in bear numbers as well as human versus bear conflicts. This comes after a bear hunting ban went into effect in the state four years ago in 2018. Now, one former New Jersey legislature is going up against the state’s governor regarding a move to allow bear hunting in the Garden State.

The former senator has announced that he’s joining the efforts of a coalition of animal rights organizations in the lawsuit against New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy over this recent decision. According to reports, Governor Murphy announced that he is renewing the black bear season. Noting the increase in “tragic bear-human interactions” as the reasoning behind this move.

“Nothing But A Trophy Hunt” Former New Jersey Mayor Defends Decision To Protest Black Bear Hunting

According to former New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lezniak, this move is “arbitrary, unnecessary, and uncalled for.” According to Lezniak’s statement, the call to bring back bear hunting in New Jersey is “Nothing but a trophy hunt.”

“It’s a glamor thing for hunters,” he says. “They’re doing it for the glamor of posting something on their walls.”

Lezniak is working in conjunction with the Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Animal Protection League, as well as other anti-hunting organizations in an effort to bring the lawsuit to court.

“The emphasis should be on safe disposal of trash and educating the public on how their practices actually encourage bears to come into residential areas,” the former senator says of the increase in bear activity. “If we do that, we wouldn’t need a black bear hunt.”

New Jersey Sees A Marked Increase In Bear Activity After Hunting Ban

Instances of bear versus human activity have risen sharply in New Jersey since Governor Murphy instituted the black bear hunting ban in 2018. One New Jersey county is reporting 701 black bear incidents from January 1 2022 to October 21, 2022. This is a major increase to the 641 reports received during the same period just one year earlier notes the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife.