The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection wasted no time on Tuesday, and two hours after an appeals court decision struck down the bear hunting season, it was announced that the season was back and that bear check points would be open until 7 p.m
The court’s decision, signed by Appellate Division Chief Judge Carmen Messano and Associate Judge Lisa Rose, was filed at 1 p.m. The DEP announced in a press release at 2:00 p.m., which was also emailed to customers and license holders, that black bear season has opened and will continue through at least Saturday.
Bear hunting regulations that were reinstated by the court’s decision include a provision for an additional season from Dec. 14 to 17 if harvest goals are not met during the regular season. The normal time of day for hunting is from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.
Interesting:Here’s what hunters need to know about the return of New Jersey’s December bear hunt
It was unclear how many hunters would actually make it into the woods Tuesday because of the late opening hour and a steady afternoon rain that would continue into the night hours.
The 2022 hunt was scheduled for this week — Monday through Saturday — before it was terminated by the appellate court, which considered the petition for permanent stay.
Doris Lynn, a member of the legal team for those who want to end the hunt, said the group is deciding whether to go to the state Supreme Court for a final appeal and whether to try to stop the hunt if that appeal is heard.
The petitioners, which include the Animal Welfare League of New Jersey, the Humane Society of the United States, animal lovers and individuals Angela Mettler and Doreen Prego, filed a permanent stay with the Appellate Division late last week.
The groups formally appealed the emergency action taken by the Fish and Game Board to begin this year’s bear hunt, based on a new black bear management policy that was also approved at the same board meeting in early November.
Governor Phil Murphy opposed the bear hunt and pushed to have it removed from the calendar. However, the governor reversed course in late October, citing a sharp increase in bear-human conflicts in the wider state.
The court ordered a temporary stay, giving both sides time to file statements in support of their positions. The latest notice was given late on Monday night, and the judges’ decision came less than 24 hours later.