NJ Bear Hunt for Sport or Management?

The New Jersey bear hunt is over and people are trying to figure out whether it was a good choice or not. Groups such as the New Jersey Sierra Club, the APLNJ and BEAR Group contend that hunters are killing the bears purely for sport--not management--and that there must be a more effective management plan.

The proposed plan suggested public education to teach people how to better handle their garbage disposal, but if suburban sprawl continues to eat the land bears call home, then the locals better get used to bruins in the trash or hunters managing the population.

From this controversial story on Northjersey.com:

...Black bear sightings have increased in regularity from 1995 to the present, according to the DEP. There have been black bear sightings in every county in New Jersey, with the bears making their way into more and more densely populated residential areas, the DEP said.

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The New Jersey Sierra Club went on record stating that the hunt is unwarranted, and that it doesn't help to manage the bear population. It took the position that a better bear management plan is needed from the DEP before any significant change can occur."It is a trophy hunt, (and) has nothing to do with managing the bear population," said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club. "It is all about sport."

Tittel said that human-bear interactions usually stem from a nuisance bear that chooses to live close to residential areas. Part of the Sierra Club's proposed bear management plan would combine non-lethal methods, public education, and steps to handle garbage disposal. Generally, most nuisance bears are lured into residential areas after discovering easily attained garbage.

...Known local hunter Eric Bunk said that the only way to help control the bear hunt population is through a combination of both hunting and preserving the natural habitat in the state. He said that the information coming from the Sierra Club and the BEAR Group is nothing more than propaganda. Although he didn't participate in this year's hunt, Bunk said he hopes to participate in the next one, if it occurs.

"There is no biological data to prove what they are saying is true," Bunk said. "We don't live in the Yukon, where the bears are spread out."_

This isn't the first controversy over the bears in the Garden State. A few weeks ago we reported on animal rights protestors attempting to make their mark on the most recent bruin season.

What do you think? Is the New Jersey bear hunt warranted, or is it killing for killing's sake?