In 2007, the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance (NJOA) was formed with a single goal of voting Senator Karcher and Assemblyman Panter out of office. These two animal rights activists and avowed vegetarians sponsored hostile legislation that might have ended freshwater fishing, hunting and trapping in New Jersey. Our unification of New Jersey’s sportsmen and sportswomen sent a loud, powerful and costly message to those who spent nearly $6 million on the Kartcher/Panter campaign but lost to opponents spending only one million. The 6 to 1 spending deficit was overcome by the activism of grassroots voters from the outdoor sport community.
The outcome of our first victory inspired NJOA organizers to realize their strength. The ability of outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen to influence Trenton lies within each of us. There are approximately 1,200,000 anglers, hunters and trappers in New Jersey and as stakeholders we form an enormous and powerful voting bloc. In fact, our numbers are four times greater than that of one the most powerful lobbying groups in the state; the New Jersey Education Association.
NJOA’s successes in advancing our interests are as simple as each of us sending an email or making a one-minute phone call to a legislator. That’s how grassroots activism works. Imagine the attention 1,200,000 involved stakeholders might receive from state legislators if all offered a unified recommendation, complaint or demand.
NJOA continues to this day to be the voice of outdoor-minded individuals. Our 30+ representatives personally meet and advocate science-based management of our resources to 120 legislators in all forty legislative districts. In 2019 and 2020 NJOA’s representatives were listed by Insider NJ as being of the top 100 most influential policy makers in the State of New Jersey. Along with eager support from prominent saltwater fishing, freshwater fishing, hunting, trapping, forestry and conservation-oriented organizations, NJOA makes its voice unmistakably loud and clear. As a means to give back to the community, NJOA also maintains a charitable affiliate, identified as NJOA Environmental Projects, dedicated to habitat improvement plus expanding the recreational use of our resources by non-traditional groups.
Through all-volunteer efforts from both NJOA non-profit affiliates, associated sport organizations and our membership, we have accomplished a tremendous amount on behalf of New Jersey conservationists. Since the defeat of Panter and Kartcher in 2007, NJOA has had a total of eight bills signed into law: 1) Sunday Bow hunting, 2) Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs funding, 3) Bow hunting Perimeter reduction to 150 feet, 4) Fishing Buddies, 5) Apprentice Firearms License, 6) Fifty State Violators Compact, 7) Trained dogs to track wounded deer, and 8) Waterfowl Stamp increase. In addition to the bills that have been signed into law, in 2018 we fought and won Restricting Commercial Pots from our Artificial Reef Sites.
We have favorably influenced many state decisions, policies and regulations and have become a major voice on conservation matters in Trenton. Equally important, NJOA continues to repel a tremendous number of assaults by those looking to do away with our freedoms to fish, trap and hunt in New Jersey. We are currently working on a diverse and expansive conservation agenda with Trenton to scientifically manage our forestry, wildlife and fisheries resources throughout New Jersey.
In recognition of the conservation interests of more than 1,200,000 outdoor sport-people, NJOA collaborated with State Senator Steve Sweeney to initiate the New Jersey Angling and Hunting Conservation Caucus (NJAHCC). This is the first caucus dedicated to advancing the ideas of environmental stewardship through the cooperative efforts of conservationists and legislators. To date the NJAHCC is one of only two caucuses established in New Jersey. The caucus is bi-partisan and is currently chaired by Senator Bob Smith (D), Senator Steve Oroho (R) and Assemblyman Parker Space (R).
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NJOA-EP Environmental Projects
The NJOA-EP division is dedicated to improving environmental health on land and water. Learn more about NJOA-EP’s activities, initiatives, and impacts.