[JURIST] The New Jersey Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a bear hunting permits case that presents the larger issue of whether the state Department of Environmental Protection has authority to block the hunt over the decision of the state Fish and Game Council (FGC). The New Jersey DEP has general authority over wildlife and natural resources, while the FGC has authority to set policies over the state's wildlife including setting hunting and fishing seasons. The NJ Superior Court had held that the NJ DEP had overstepped its authority in blocking the permits. The NJ Superior Court ruled separately on November 24th in Safari Club Intl v. New Jersey Dept. Environmental Protection [PDF] that the NJ DEP did have authority to close state lands under DEP control to the hunt. That case, expected to be appealed, is not yet on the NJ Supreme Court calendar. The present case is US Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation v. New Jersey Dept. Environmental Protection (link to appellate court opinion). AP has more.