Protect New Jersey’s hunting and fishing legacy by urging your senator to REJECT New Jersey Senate Bill No. 3537
Senator Raymond Lesniak (D), notorious for his criticism of the New Jersey bear hunt and his anti-hunting advocacy, has tried to sneak in legislation to the New Jersey Senate that would allow anti-hunting proponents to influence hunting and fishing regulations.
New Jersey’s hunting and fishing regulations are approved, guided, and consulted with the New Jersey Fish and Game Council. The Council is composed of 11 member. By law, “three members of council shall be farmers, recommended to the Governor for appointment by the agricultural convention; six members shall be sportsmen, recommended to the Governor for appointment by the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs; and two members shall be commercial fishermen.”
In Senator Lesniak’s introduce state senate bill no. 3537, three sportmen would be replaced with three representatives, each from historic anti-hunting organizations. One from the Humane Society of the United States, one from the Sierra Club, and one from the Animal Protection League.
This could have serious implications. According to the New Jersey Divsion of Fish and Wildlife, the Game Council “is invested with certain regulatory powers aimed at protecting and developing an adequate supply of fish and game for recreational and commercial purposes. These powers are expressed primarily by the Council’s determinations as to when and where in the State hunting and fishing shall take place, and which freshwater fish, game birds, game animals, and fur bearing animals may be taken and in what numbers.”
With the current membership, the Game Council allows all stakeholders impacted by hunting and fishing laws to have their input. In essence, state biologists give recommendations and the Council expresses “on the ground” concerns. It’s a good system, allowing a pleasant compromise between wildlife biologists and those whose livelihoods depend on fish and wildlife populations. It give hunters and fisherman a platform to express their concerns.
Newly appointed Governor Phil Murphy has already expressed his intent to eliminate the bear hunt, despite a growing bear population and no real management alternative to hunting. I wrote extensively about the bear hunt controversy in a New Jersey Spotlight Op-Ed.
As sportsman and women, we support conservation by purchasing licenses, the Pitman-Robertson excise tax, joining conservation focused hunting groups, and providing invaluable information to fish and wildlife biologists.
More importantly, we preserve the age-old right to hunt and fish for our own food, to be intimate with nature in a way that seems to be lost in our modern age, and a legacy that has been passed down to us through many generations.
DO NOT let the New Jersey senate take away the hunter and fisherman’s voice. Take action by contacting your state senator and telling him to vote NO on senate bill No. 3537.
Here is a sample message to help get you started:
Subject: Say NO To Senate Bill No. 3537
Dear [recipient’s name],
The New Jersey Fish and Game Council has been integral in guiding fish and wildlife management since its creation in 1945. In its current composure, the Game Council allows careful consensus between all stakeholder groups when passing or changing fish and wildlife regulations.
The integrity of the Council is threatened by Senate Bill 3537, whose aim is to diminish the voice of New Jersey sportsmen and women when it comes to hunting and fishing regulations.
To reduce sportsmen input in management decisions is not only reckless, but its also dangerous. Among its neighbors, New Jersey has been a historic leader in conservation. We harbor some of the most unique ecosystems and wildlife populations the Atlantic seaboard has to offer, including the Pinelands National Reserve, which is the largest of its kind, and the largest population of wintering American black ducks in the world. Sportsmen and women fund New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s initiatives through sales of hunting and fishing licenses, mandatory stamps, and excise taxes on hunting equipment. We also provide invaluable information to guide management decisions by working hand-in-hand with state biologists. To compromise this delicate and age-old relationship, or diminish the voices of these people, is counteractive and unneccesary.
Please stand with New Jersey sportsmen and women by standing up for conservation and preserving the current system of New Jersey Fish and Game Council membership.
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