I’ve been around New Jersey long enough to see the bear hunts get canceled and reinstated and canceled and reinstated over and over ad nauseam. The winds of change when it comes to sympathy for bears vs. sympathy for humans blow over New Jersey every few years.

So in 2003, when the bear hunt was reinstated, all of the people in the Northwest corridor of New Jersey (the ones who find the bears to be not just an annoyance but a legitimate threat) were cheering. But today, unsurprisingly, Phil Murphy, our governor and chief panderer, decided to bring the black bear hunt to a halt.

It’s no secret that we need a bear hunt to protect people and property, but opponents who think that the needs and “feelings” of animals are more important than those of human beings have always claimed that the hunt is unnecessary and cruel. They believe it’s human beings’ fault that the bears are a problem because they don’t secure their garbage. Meanwhile, we have always struggled to control the black bear population and it’s always been a problem, regardless of what residents do with their garbage.

When I was a teenager in New Jersey, there would be a couple hundred bear sightings a year. Now there are a couple thousand. Bringing the bear hunt back in 2003 was one of the best things we could do for the human beings who live here, but since animal wackos always put the animals’ needs first, the hunt has to go. Those are Murphy’s people. And he needs their votes.

Ironically, if Murphy had a bear problem around his sprawling riverfront estate in Monmouth County, he’d have enough money to hire 24-hour security and erect some kind of crazy expensive fences to keep them out. The average New Jerseyan doesn’t have those luxuries. Besides, Murphy’s probably never even been to either Warren or Sussex counties, where the black bear have really been a problem. So just like a lot of his out-of-touch policies, Murphy is instituting this one just to secure a few more votes.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.

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