Hunters are having a much harder time in this day and age than they used to. Hunting just isn’t as popular as it once was, which means less revenue going in to state budgets to help fund hunting resources. It also means there’s less political will to oppose anti-hunting measures that we see pop up from time to time.
And that’s a shame.
While it’s been ages since I went hunting, my time in the woods with my dad gave us some of our favorite stories together.
However, there are practical reasons for hunting as well. Most notably, the ability to control animal populations. Yet that reason is absent from many of the discussions surrounding bear hunting in New Jersey.
First, let’s start off with the good news, this will be the last bear hunt while Governor Murphy is in office.
Senator Bob Toricelli, the Animal Protection League of New Jersey, the Sierra Club, the Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Welfare Institute and I, together with the hundreds of thousands of residents of New Jersey we represent, protest this year’s bear hunt.
We not only protest this year’s bear hunt, we also intend to insure that this will be the last bear hunt under any Governor of the State of New Jersey. In order or stop any further bear hunts, we will file a lawsuit to declare that the appointing process and the composition of the Fish & Game Council is unconstitutional because it allows the Sportsmen’s Clubs to dominate the makeup of the Fish and Game Council precluding the public from its decision-making thereby violating the Equal Protection Clause of the State and Federal Constitutions. It is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority and establishes animal cruelty as a permitted practice in the State of New Jersey.
And honestly, calling hunting “animal cruelty” firmly establishes the writer of this screed as someone not worthy of being taken seriously.
In fact, as a one-time hunter, I’m deeply insulted.
See, no hunter worth their salt wants the animal to suffer. They put down the animal as quickly and efficiently as possible because contrary to anti-hunting claims, we’re not cruel people.
As for sportsmen’s clubs “dominating” the Fish and Game Council, I need to explain to this individual the idea of something called rational self-interest.
See, sportsmen and their groups have a vested interest in making damn sure that the bears aren’t hunted into obscurity in the state. After all, their members want to hunt bears for years to come, so these members have a self-interested reason to make sure the bear populations are protected to as large a degree as possible.
The last thing Sportsmen’s Clubs would want to see is overhunting of a popular game animal.
But then again, this is New Jersey. Governor Phil Murphy has, indeed, put an end to bear hunting during his administration. Murphy’s said:
During a news conference in Trenton on Monday, Murphy elaborated, saying that the state and the council would seek to “chart a better way forward” than the annual harvest, which has generated fierce opposition from anti-hunting advocates.
“This would allow the council and the Department of Environmental Protection to engage in a thorough and a complete review of current scientific data in developing a new black bear policy that promotes public safety and welfare while protecting important wildlife with a focus on non-lethal management techniques,” he said.
However, hunting has always been an effective means of population management, a practice which prevents animal populations from growing so large that they outstrip the food resources in an area or increases the risk of disease.
Further, hunting generates revenue traditionally used for wildlife management. Take that away and the money goes away.
But Murphy and other anti-hunting jihadists will continue to vilify hunters, typically without ever bothering to sit down and meet one, and the state of New Jersey will be the ones paying the price.