New Jersey Division
of Fish and Wildlife

NJ-DFW Crimes Against Nature

The NJ-DFW kills neighborhood bears to generate hysteria and fear. They are counting on the public fear to garner support for a controversial hunt. Hunting black bears does nothing to prevent incidents with black bears. States with annual hunts have rising complaints and incidents. The number of complaints rise and fall with or without hunts. When the black bear population was at threatened levels in Florida, complaints went up and down.

West Milford: We received the following voice mail from a resident of Bearfort Road, West Milford, after the NJ-DFW killed a female bear in West Milford, NJ. Please note that a small part of the recording is not clear. When we heard the message, we were deeply moved.

On September 26, a female bear was killed in West Milford for entering what looks like a basement. An article about the killing in the West Milford Messenger is available here:

Her death could have been prevented through education and Bear Smart programs. The Bear Group is solution oriented and provides a free of charge presentation to all venues — from municipalities to clubs –to guide and assist in creating Bear Smart Communities. Please help us spread the word by getting the presentation into more communities and clubs by contacting Elaine.

Caught on Audio — DFW says, “We don’t base the hunting season on complaints”

During the September 26, 2012 meeting of the New Jersey Fish and Game Council, a member of the Endangered and Nongame Species Advisory Council asked a basic question: What is the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s target black bear population?

NJ-DFW avoided a direct response. Instead, Patrick Carr, the Division’s supervising biologist and a bear hunter reported to have “bagged” a Pennsylvania black bear with his bow on September 29, 2012, said the goal is whatever the population was in the year 2000, but he didn’t have that number handy. Estimates from varied expert sources placed the bear population in 2000 all over the map, and the 2003 bear hunt proved that the bear population was half of what the Division had previously thought, so the answer was essentially meaningless.

On the audio, Doris Lin, Esq., director of legal affairs for the Animal Protection League of New Jersey, commented that the bear complaints are not scientific because hunters tell each other to call in complaints, Carr replied: “We don’t base the hunting season on complaints. We recognize that this population is a game animal that can support a regulated harvest.”

Listen to audio: CarrHerrighty20120926.

Press Release – DFW Caught on Tape (word doc).

Press Release – Lin Recording Sept 26 2012 Mtg (pdf)

NJ-DFW: A pro-hunt agency…with a pro-hunt agenda

In New Jersey, it’s illegal to feed bears—intentionally. Although studies show that unwanted bear incidents drop significantly when garbage is properly stored, the NJ-DFW rarely, if ever tells violators about the law.

And when bears are inevitably attracted to human environments by the smell of garbage, the NJ-DFW traps and shoots the bear—often on the homeowner’s property. They then use these same bear nuisance incidents to drum up support for bear hunting.

The NJ-DFW is sabotaging non-lethal bear management.


The NJ-DFW does not protect wildlife. They exist to regulate hunting, and to serve the interests of the hunting community. Salaries of NJ-DFW is largely paid by the sale of hunting licenses and their existence is contingent on killing animals.

Since the early 1990s, there has been a significant drop in the sales of hunting licenses. Less than 1% of New Jersey residents hunt. The decline in hunting can be attributed to access, time, cost, loss of open space as well as an attitudinal shift away from blood sports.

Because of this, NJ-DFW has been very active in recruiting new hunters, even encouraging children as young as 10 years old to hunt. And black bears, our largest land mammal, is a boon to business and clearly in the center of their crosshairs.

How else does the NJ-DFW lay the groundwork for trophy hunting?

NJ-DFW inflates population statistics by encouraging residents to contact them regarding every bear sighting. If a resident calls to complain or to ask a question, the call is logged as a nuisance complaint. This manipulated data is further compromised, as 10 calls about one bear are recorded as 10 complaints. The NJ-DFW then uses these complaints to justify a need for a bear hunt.

When biologists or conservation officers shoot “nuisance” bears, they reinforce the misconception that bears are dangerous. Yet the bears they kill are targeted for knocking over trash, emptying bird-feeders, and lapping up honey from beehives. On rare occasions, when home (or garage) entry is involved, it is the bears that are blamed. The Division refuses to address the true source of the problem: a homeowner who did not bearproof their property.

NJ-DFW employees—who should be non-biased—argue publicly in favor of black bear hunting and align themselves with hunters and the commercial shooting industry. This state-sanctioned hunting organization has made it clear how eager they are to gun for New Jersey’s largest and most majestic land animal—our black bear.

And everyone who cares about bears needs to get involved to stop it.

Please join us today…and help us promote education and responsible government…and be a voice for those who can’t speak for themselves.