Cooking with FOIA: New Jersey's Black Bear Recipe Guide

Cooking with FOIA: New Jersey’s Black Bear Recipe Guide

To bolster support for its controversial black bear hunting program, the state’s Division of Fish and Wildlife issued a cookbook featuring recipes like “bear gumbo” and “bearkin”

Written by
Edited by Beryl Lipton

Back in 2010, in an effort to keep the local black bear population down, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie reinstated the state’s annual bear hunting season. Despite record numbers the first year, the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife noticed a massive drop-off in the seasons that followed. So to bolster the argument that hunting was the most effective means of population control, in 2014 they decided upon a rather novel way of encouraging people to shoot more bears: state-issued cookbooks.

Each hunter who brought a bear into a weigh station received a complimentary copy of the 2014 Black Bear Recipe Guide, which, in addition to providing tips on how to best clean and prepare a bear, includes such delicacies as bear gumbo …

bear meatloaf …

charcoal-grilled bear ribs (highly-recommended!!!) …

and, because this was 2014, “bearkin.”

The allure of bearkin-wrapped bear meatloaf cooked in bear lard was not quite enough to keep New Jersey citizens from voting in current Governor Philip Murphy, who among other things, ran on a platform of ending the annual bear hunts. A New Jersey Open Public Records Act request has been filed related to the development of the cookbook program. In the meantime, you can read the 2014 Black Bear Recipe Guide embedded below.

Image via Wikimedia Commons