For decades Safari Club International (SCI) and the Safari Club International Foundation (SCIF) have been involved with issues related to hunting and conserving bears across North America. Engaging in lawsuits, grassroots campaigns, and scientific research, few organizations have been more involved with bears and bear hunting than SCI and SCIF.
Bears have a tough time staying out of trouble with livestock and trashcans. They also have a hard time staying out of courtrooms. SCI has a team of attorneys dedicated to defending the right to hunt and protecting science-based, sustainable-use conservation in courts throughout the country. They have recently been involved with three different cases involving bears.
Louisiana black bears were listed as a threatened species by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) in 1992. By 2016, recovery plan criteria were met and the bears were removed from the threatened species list. In 2018, multiple organizations challenged that decision. SCI was the only organization that defended the USFWS’s decision to delist the bears, and in 2020, a federal court dismissed the case based on SCI’s arguments. While it is unlikely that a hunt will be scheduled in the near future, delisting is an important first step to reopening a bear hunt in Louisiana once it becomes necessary to manage the population.
New Jersey has one of the densest black bear populations in North America with an estimated 3,500 bears roaming the state and sightings in all 21 counties. Prohibiting bear hunting was part of current Governor Phil Murphy’s campaign platform, and in 2018, he limited the hunt to the fullest extent of his authority by banning bear hunting on more than 700,000 acres of previously accessible public hunting grounds. SCI and its partners challenged the closure in New Jersey state court. That case is currently ongoing, but SCI has been involved in lawsuits related to bear hunting in New Jersey for over 15 years.