Judge Lifts Prohibition on Bear Hunting at the Delaware
Water Gap National Recreation Area; Updated
Bear Hunt Information
(03/174) TRENTON -- United
States District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton today lifted
the federal court order prohibiting hunting for bears at
the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
The Order, issued Friday December 5, 2003, was in response
to a federal suit filed by Fund for Animals claiming that
the Director of the National Park Service and the U.S.
Secretary of the Interior had violated the National Park
Service Organic Act and the National Environmental Policy
Act. Fund for Animals also alleged that the hunt would
cause irreparable harm to their members and was against
the public interest. The New Jersey Fish and Game Council
sought and was granted the right to intervene in the lawsuit
to defend the bear hunting season, which was part of the
2003 Game Code adopted by the Council.
Ruling against the Fund for Animals in all counts, Judge
Walton found that the Fund had failed to establish any
violations of the statutes by the National Park Service
or the Secretary of the Interior. The court also failed
to find that Fund for Animals would suffer any irreparable
A summary of Judge Walton’s decision is posted on
the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s
homepage at www.state.nj.us/dep.
A total of 116 bear were taken during the first day of
the bear hunt, which began yesterday, December 9. Of the
116, 76 bear were female and 40 male. A total of 85 bear
were taken in Sussex County, 13 in Warren County, seven
in Morris County, 10 in Passaic County and one in Bergen
County. Of the 116 bear taken, six were previously identified
as nuisance bears and five were taken in previously identified
problem areas where bear/human conflicts occurred. One
bear taken during the hunt had been previously relocated
out of an urban area.
NOTE TO PRESS: For the remainder of the bear hunt, the
DEP press office will issue current- day bear hunt information
at approximately 5:00 p.m.
Since the mandatory check stations operate until 9:00
p.m., a final daily count of bear taken will be released
the following morning.