Letters to the Editor and Others
The Honorable Walter W. Porter, Jr.
Passaic County Board of
June 10, 2003
Dear Mr. Porter:
Wildlife Watch, Inc. 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. On behalf of our members and supporters in New Jersey, we respectfully urge you and the Board of Chosen Freeholders to pass a resolution on June 11, against the New Jersey Fish and Game Council’s decision to open a bear hunting season.
The decision to open a bear hunting season was done for illegitimate reasons. The council seeks to increase recreational hunting (trophy hunting) in an attempt to raise revenue by selling more hunting licenses. Since the salaries of Division of Fish and Wildlife employees are funded by the sale of hunting licenses, the decreasing number of active hunters in the state has made the Division desperate for ways to sell licenses and permits. Opening a bear hunting season, regardless of the faulty science backing it up, is a way to increase needed revenue.
The population estimates publicized by the Division are questioned by many students of wildlife, including Bradley Campbell, the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. In a letter to the Fish and Game Council dated March 6, 2003, Mr. Campbell stated that an independent panel estimated the bear population could be as low as 1350 animals. This figure is in stark contrast to the population estimate of 3278 that the Division has been pushing.
Why is the Division’s
estimate so out of line with reality? In an interview published in the
February 2001 issue of "Field and Stream" magazine, the Division's bear
biologist Patrick Carr, was interviewed. The article stated: “Part of $2
million appropriation from the state's legislature is earmarked for bear
research, and Carr believes that it will allow him and his colleagues to
make an even better case for bear hunting."
The people of Passaic County do not want hunters from all over the state converging on their towns and communities shooting at our black bears. They do not want hunters trespassing on their property with deadly weapons pursuing wounded and dying bears. They do not want to deal with a close encounter between their children and a hunter or a mortally wounded bear.
Trophy hunting will not stop nuisance complaints, nor will it educate the public as to the proper way to coexist peacefully with these magnificent animals. With the Division looking to distribute 10,000 bear hunting permits, the hunt has the ability to completely wipe out the bear population in the state.
The Division of Fish and Wildlife is an agency that is out of touch with the desires of the residents of Passaic County. It operates without public oversight. They address problems by shooting first and asking questions later. Shooting is their sustenance. Our members and supporters in Passaic County and throughout the state urge you and the Freeholders to protect your residents and pass a resolution against bear hunting in New Jersey. Your response will be greatly appreciated.
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