On 6th December 2022, New Jersey’s State Appellate Division Judges Lisa Rose and Carmen Messano ruled against the animal protection organisations that had complained about the bear hunt the governor had recently authorised. In consequence, the six-day bear hunting season that had to start in early December will go ahead.
On Wednesday 30th November a judge in New Jersey granted an emergency stay on the start of the bear hunting season in the state scheduled for the following Monday which put it on indefinite hold while the legal proceedings continued. State appeals court Judge Lisa Rose issued the order in response to a legal filing by three animal protection groups, the Animal Protection League of New Jersey, the Humane Society of the United States, and Friends of the Animals. Judge Rose gave the animal protection groups until 4 pm Friday to submit their legal brief and set a deadline of 4 pm Monday for the Division of Fish and Wildlife to answer. However, now the judge has ruled against the animal protection groups and the hunt will go ahead.
This legal request came about when Gov. Phil Murphy, who had initially opposed the hunt, changed his mind and authorised it for 2022 after two years without bear hunts — which had been on and off since bear hunting was reinstated in 2003 in the state after a ban that started in 1970.
Dante DiPirro, representing the coalition of animal protection groups that filed the request the stop the hunt, wrote in the application the following: “The emergency rule is based on an assumption that the bear population is approximately 3,000 and will rise to approximately 4,000 in two years, allegedly necessitating an emergency. However, the current bear population has not been scientifically determined. The state has not counted the bears nor conducted a statistically significant valid estimate of the current population.” The coalition also claimed that Fish and Wildlife’s “emergency rule” to supposedly deal with an increase in the bear population adopted on 15th November to give green light to the hunt was illegal for not having run the usual public comment period.