By Anthony Mauro Sr.
New Jersey Outdoor Alliance
TRENTON, NJ –-(Ammoland.com)- While The Express Times’ Jan. 14 2015 editorial, “Preserve Sunday hunting bans in New Jersey, Pennsylvania” contained some important information, it relied heavily on anecdotes for its conclusion.
Regarding New Jersey, we believe Sunday hunting has merit based on facts and is good public policy.
The purpose of the bill before the Legislature is to provide the opportunity to make use of Sundays to harvest certain game animals that are determined to be in the best interest of the public, the environment, and management of game populations.
The bill doesn’t mandate Sunday hunting, but allows the state to use science and statistical analysis as the basis for determining what, if any, game animals need population management. Since most hunters have only the weekend to hunt, and only Saturday allowed by law, the bill would double their opportunity.
There is an overabundance of deer, bear, geese, turkey and coyote, and it is in the public’s interest that populations be properly managed.
Deer caused 26,860 motor vehicle accidents in New Jersey in 2013, according to research by State Farm Insurance.
There were 2,785 confirmed cases and 981 probable cases of Lyme disease in New Jersey last year, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Also, both conservation and environmental groups complain that overgrazing by deer has caused the decline of hundreds of common species of plants and animals.
The back bear population is growing at a rate faster than the number of hunters can harvest, according to the state Division of Fish and Wildlife. Bears are found in all 21 counties, with migration moving from the heavily populated counties in the northwest corner of the state to surrounding counties and even a few centrally located.
Recently a Rutgers student was mauled to death in a bear attack, and another person was bitten. Bears have entered homes, have been found in swimming pools and under porches, have caused vehicle accidents, and even scattered a Main Street parade.
The overpopulation of Canada geese is public health concern and a cause of environmental damage. A few years back a flock impacted the engines of a USAirways flight and caused a rapid loss of thrust. The successful emergency landing in the Hudson River was attributed to the exceptional ability of the pilot.
The editorial gave the impression that people wait until Sunday to enjoy the outdoors, but this is not supported by statistics. First, counties and municipalities determine whether there is hunting in their parks, not the state, and many have no hunting or limited hunting policies.
An annual U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service survey (2011) showed New Jersey bird watchers each spent on average 90 days enjoying the outdoors, and wildlife watchers 10 days (away from their homes). Sundays don’t appear to be limitations for people to enjoy the outdoors.
A 2003 survey by Responsive Management showed 66 percent of New Jerseyans support science-based hunting.
Perhaps they understand that managing game populations is important for public safety, environmental health and ecological balance.
We hope that the other 34 percent will avoid anecdotes and rely on facts to weigh the issue. If so, we think they’ll agree that the Sunday hunting bill is good public policy.
Anthony P. Mauro
Anthony P. Mauro Sr., of Colt’s Neck, N.J., is chairman and cofounder of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, an all-volunteer organization dedicated to the stewardship and sustainable use of natural resources. NJOA is comprised of 28 of the state’s largest fishing, hunting, diving, trapping, and conservation organizations.
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NJOA – The mission of New Jersey Outdoor Alliance is to serve as a grassroots coalition of outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen dedicated to environmental stewardship. We will champion the intrinsic value of natural resource conservation – including fishing, hunting and trapping, among opinion leaders and policy makers. We will support legislation, and those sponsoring legislation, that provides lasting ecological and social enrichment through sustainable use of the earths resources. Visit: www.njoutdooralliance.org