Court Rules on Bear Hunt

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The Superior Court of New Jersey ruled that hunting will be permitted on state land, but in a second ruling has barred young hunters from participating in the hunt.

New Jersey Superior Court Judges Steven LeFelt and Ariel Rodriguez denied a request by anti-hunters to prohibit the state’s bear hunt from taking place on state park and forest lands. Anti’s claimed the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry did not follow proper guidelines when establishing the hunt. The Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund (SLDF), the legal arm of the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation, led the defense on behalf of the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and sportsmen.

While the court will allow sportsmen to hunt on state park and state forest land, it ruled against the SLDF’s challenge of a directive from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Division of Fish and Wildlife that prohibits children younger than 16 years old from hunting black bears. The court agreed with the SLDF that the state failed to follow proper procedures when issuing the restriction, but refused to permit youth to participate in the hunt.

“Obviously, we are pleased that the bear hunt will be permitted on state land,” said Rob Sexton, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation vice president for government affairs. “But, we are bitterly disappointed that the court would reward the threat of intimidation by anti-hunters by denying hunting opportunities to youth.”