Assemblyman Peter J. Biondi
1 East High Street
Somerville, NJ 08876
May 19, 2003
Dear Assemblyman Biondi:
The Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting is an animal protection
organization that seeks to educate the public about the mismanagement of
wildlife by state and federal wildlife agencies, and the destruction of
wildlife and ecosystems in the name of sport hunting and game management.
We are concerned with the state of the New Jersey Fish and Game Council
and the lack of legal supervision which allows it to operate in the
unrestrained manner in which it has been in recent years.
Entrusted with the great responsibility of managing wildlife in the best
interest of the animals and the people of New Jersey, the Council has
instead catered to a small minority, fewer than two percent of New Jersey's
residents who engage in sport hunting. The ideal of government "for the
people and by the people" has never been so disregarded.
Far from being stewards of wild animals who belong to all of the people
of the State, the Council has instead, through amendments to its Game Code,
created severe imbalances between wildlife and wildlife habitat, and caused
human-animal conflicts. Under the one-hundred year authority of the Fish and
Game Council, some species of wildlife have overpopulated and others have
been brought to the brink of extinction. For example, during the last legal
bear hunting season in New Jersey hunters kept killing bears until only
twenty-five remained in the state.
The current state of the deer herd is a glaring example of the Council's
inability to manage wildlife populations properly. Through its programs of
selective hunting and habitat modification, the Division has created a herd
that is larger and denser now than at any time in New Jersey's history. This
comes at the same time when the state is desperately trying to preserve the
last tracts of open spaces and keep them from the hands of developers.
The Division and Council's manipulation of NJ's deer herd is not for the
benefit of passive wildlife watchers who outnumber hunters by a factor of
13:1, it is merely for the few who enjoy recreational hunting. Pandering to
this small special interest wreaks havoc across the state, as it places
people at risk from firearms and other weapons and causes car-deer
collisions. Wildlife management has tragic consequences and no benefits for
wildlife or the more than 98% of the public who do not hunt.
We respectfully ask that a legislative review of the Division of Fish and
Wildlife, specifically the Fish and Game Council and its abuses of power, is
undertaken. As well, please investigate the policies and practices of the
Council and Division with an eye toward revising wildlife management for the
sake of the greater public whose interests are far more benign than taking
home a hunting trophy.
Your reply to our concerns will be greatly appreciated.
New Jersey Field Office