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Letter to Assemblyman Peter J. Biondi Concerning mismanagement of wildlife by state and federal wildlife agencies

Wildlife Watch Inc.
Helping People, Environment, and Wildlife
PO BOX 562
NEW PALTZ, NY 12561
Voice:(845) 256-1400
Fax:(845-622-7999)
e-mail: wildwatch@earthlink.net
Contact: Joe Miele, Vice President, Wildlife Watch

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.

Sincerely,

Joe Miele
New Jersey Field Office

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