Federal Court Strikes Down Illegal New Jersey Hunting Trophy Ban

Published October 19, 2016

Delivering a victory to New Jersey hunters and taxidermists, on August 29, Judge Freda Wolfson of the U.S. District Court in New Jersey overturned New Jersey’s ban on exporting, importing, possessing, processing, and transporting hunting trophies of select African wildlife.

The conservation group, Conservation Force, the Garden State Taxidermist Association, a New Jersey taxidermist, and five New Jersey based hunters sued New Jersey to end the state’s wildlife trophy import ban, which the Gov. Chris Christie (R) signed into law on June 2, 2016. The plaintiffs alleged the state’s ban was preempted by federal law. Judge Wolfson agreed.

New Jersey’s law prohibited the people of New Jersey from possessing or transporting a number of different African wildlife species, throughout New Jersey and banned the importation of those same species from any port overseen by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, even if New Jersey was not a banned hunting trophy’s final destination.

Wolfson ruled since federal law allowed the importation, possession, and transportation of such trophies, New Jersey could not ban the activities.

As of now, hunters may continue to import, export, and possess federally authorized hunting trophies in the state.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. ([email protected]) is the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.