Hunting Leaders File Lawsuit Challenging New Jersey Black Bear Hunt Ban

Hunting Leaders File Lawsuit Challenging New Jersey Black Bear Hunt Ban

Today, the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, Safari Club International and Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation filed a legal challenge to New Jersey’s ill-advised closure of state lands to the upcoming black bear hunt.

“NJOA is proud to continue the fight for sound wildlife management,” said Ed Markowski, President of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance. “New Jersey sportsmen only want access to the lands they pay for and maintain and for wildlife policy to be free from the special interest agendas of anti-hunting extremists and career politicians who are long on rhetoric and short on science.”

“New Jersey has held successful and scientifically-sound black bear hunts since 2010, but this year the new governor promised to stop the hunt regardless of what the state’s own wildlife professionals decide,” said SCI President Paul Babaz. “SCI and its partners have battled to protect New Jersey’s bear hunt since 2004 and we will continue to support science-based management over emotion-driven decisions.”

“It’s a sad day when a governor willingly puts his own constituents at risk just to fulfill a campaign promise to a vocal minority,” said Evan Heusinkveld, president and CEO of the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “This is political pandering at its finest. Governor Murphy knows that the wildlife experts in his own agencies use the best available science and practices when evaluating wildlife populations and hunting regulations. It is a slap in the face to the state’s biologists and wildlife managers who have spent their entire careers working on these issues, only to have a politician tell them ‘I know better.’”

The lawsuit’s claims include:

  • that the State violated New Jersey law by banning black bear hunting on state-managed lands without scientific or policy justification, but instead in fulfillment of a campaign promise;
  • that the State violated federal law by diverting the use of state-managed lands away from the uses mandated by funding laws and agreement with the federal government;
  • that the State violated other substantive and procedural laws and requirements in banning black bear hunting on state-managed lands, including by failing to take public comment or consider scientific evidence.

NJOA, SCI and the Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation filed the lawsuit in New Jersey state court.

As part of this effort, the organizations are interested in hearing from New Jersey hunters (both residents and nonresidents) who had plans to hunt black bears on public lands this fall. If you are a member of one of the three organizations and have been affected by the closure, please contact that organization using the email addresses provided below.

About NJOA: New Jersey Outdoor Alliance’s mission is “preservation through conservation.” NJOA serves as a grassroots coalition of outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen dedicated to the conservation of natural resources and environmental stewardship that champions the intrinsic value of fishing, hunting and trapping, among opinion leaders, policy makers, and the public at-large. To join NJOA, make a financial contribution toward NJOA’s efforts or learn more about the organization, please visit: For media inquiries, contact Cody McLaughlin at

About SCI: Safari Club International represents 50,000 members and all hunters in the fight to protect hunting opportunities and access. SCI’s mission is to protect the freedom to hunt and to promote wildlife conservation worldwide. SCI has gone to court many times over the past fifteen years to advocate for New Jersey’s management of bears through regulated hunting. To become a member of SCI or make a financial donation to help SCI’s litigation efforts, please visit,

SCI members wishing to provide information to SCI lawyers about how the public lands closure affects their ability to hunt should contact Jeremy Clare at

About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. The Sportsmen’s Alliance was specifically created to protect the outdoor heritage from animal-rights activists and organizations seeking to end those pursuits and undermine the nation’s conservation model. The Alliance partners with other organizations, such as SCI and NJOA, to provide a unified and formidable legal front, and has done so in New Jersey for bears many times, as well as in all 50 states, the courts and at the ballot box. To join the Alliance click here, or to donate to the Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund click here. For media inquiries, contact Brian Lynn at

Safari Club International – First For Hunters is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide. SCI’s approximately 200 Chapters represent all 50 of the United States as well as 106 other countries. SCI’s proactive leadership in a host of cooperative wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian programs, with the SCI Foundation and other conservation groups, research institutions and government agencies, empowers sportsmen to be contributing community members and participants in sound wildlife management and conservation. Visit the home page, or call (520) 620-1220 for more information.

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