Is bear-hunting civilized? I suppose some would say that it depends upon how it’s done.

At present, there’s a movement afoot to return to bear-hunting in New Jersey, as reported here in the New York Post.

Others have a different take on the matter, including the Humane Society, which will no doubt be working hard on this matter. They wrote back in 2005 here that the New Jersey Fish and Game Council had

… proposed … to hunt black bears over the next five years. What the plan didn’t include, however, was a scientific study to determine the state’s total black bear population, the key element in justifying any hunt.

How could the council produce such a lightweight management plan heavy on the killing? Easy, given that under a law that has not been updated in nearly 30 years, the council is comprised of 11 members appointed by the governor, and six of these members—an absolute majority—must be hunters or fishers recommended by the state Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, a hunting industry lobbying group. What’s more, no current council member represents the environmental community, the humane community, or the general public.

In 2001, hunters represented less than 2% of New Jersey’s population. But this tiny minority has a monopoly on the management of wildlife that by law belongs to all the people.

New Jersey’s first—and only—bear hunt since 1970 was held in 2003, when some 5,450 hunters killed 328 bears. Just how overpopulated can bears be when 94% of the people who are out in the woods searching for them can’t even get within rifle range of one?

So, there are some interesting, alternative perspectives on the this approach to culling bears.