Bear Hunting in New Jersey

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by MtnBiker, Dec 16, 2003.

  1. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    New Jersey Opens First Bear Hunt in 33 Years

    Tuesday, December 09, 2003

    VERNON, N.J. — Slogging through a foot of snow left by a weekend blizzard, hunters ventured into the woods in New Jersey's (search) first bear hunt (search) in 33 years, prompted by a rising number of complaints about the animals breaking into suburban homes and raiding trash cans.



    About two dozen protesters rallied near a weigh station at Wawayanda State Park (search), chanting, "Stop the slaughter, save the bears." They took to the woods with video cameras to monitor the hunt, which went ahead despite a number of legal challenges.

    Hunters had bagged 61 bears by evening, the largest weighing 498 pounds, the state Department of Environmental Protection said.

    The hunt was held to reduce a bear population that has swelled across northwestern New Jersey.

    Bears have broken into 58 homes in New Jersey this year, according to complaints compiled by the state wildlife agency. Fifty bears have been hit by vehicles. Bears have also killed livestock and bloodied a few people.

    A hiker was knocked down by a bear in Wawayanda Park in August. The woman escaped with minor injuries. And a 150-pound bear mauled a West Milford homeowner in May after the man rushed to the aid of his dog.

    Black bears have killed eight people over the past three years in North America, but none in New Jersey.

    Officials hope the hunt will reduce the state's estimated 3,200 bears by about 500. They plan to monitor the daily kill and determine if the hunt should last the full six days scheduled.

    Harry McDole, 63, of Sussex Borough bagged what conservation officers said was the first bear of the season just before 8 a.m., a 160-pound female. McDole said he had killed three bears in Canada on previous hunting trips.

    "I've waited 33 years to shoot one in New Jersey. This is the best one because I got it in Jersey," he said. He said he planned to have "a rug or something" made from the pelt and eat the meat.

    With about a foot of snow on the ground and the temperature hovering around 20 degrees, conditions were good for tracking but difficult for moving around.

    Among the protesters at Wawayanda was Janice Wrubel of Nutley, wearing a bear mask. She said the state has not aggressively pursued alternatives to the hunt, such as sterilization.

    Lynda Smith, a West Milford resident and director of the Bear Education and Resource Group, said her group has tried to teach northwestern New Jersey residents how to avoid close encounters with bears by keeping garbage can lids on tight and not leaving pet food outside.

    "I dreaded this day. I hoped it would never come. I fought against this day for 10 years," Smith said. "One week of bear hunting, nothing's going to be solved. Come spring the bears will still be eating our garbage and still be walking through our back yards."

    For the hunt, the state opened up 1 million acres and issued just over 5,200 permits to hunters.

    Bears were hunted annually in New Jersey from 1958 to 1970. Hunting was suspended when their numbers dwindled to about 100.

    On Friday, a federal judge, responding to a complaint filed by environmentalists, closed the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area to hunters.

    Three other legal actions -- two opposing the hunt and one seeking to allow youths ages 10 to 15 to participate in it -- were denied Friday, and the New Jersey Supreme Court refused to intervene.

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    This seems like poor wildlife management.
     
  2. janeeng
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    janeeng Guest

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    I don't even need to read this article to know how disgusting I find it. I watched the news weeks ago as they planned this BIG OL EVENT!!!! Claiming bears are over populating, hahah, I know some humans that are overpopulating, should we hunt and kill them too? ok, not the same in others eyes, but to me, New Jersey is just WAY too overpopulated. I wonder if they are going to call over at the Countries to bring more of the Indians and all here to kill the bear, why not, they are giving OUR jobs to them, might as well give them this job too!
     
  3. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    Well I don't know if the bears are over populated or not. I does seem there is some human-bear interaction going on that would suggest they are overpopulated. Actually the bear's habitat is likely to be reduced in the last 33 years, also causing human-bear interaction. I'm not apposed to hunting, in fact I do hunt ,but to go from no hunting for 33 years to 5,200 permits seems extreme. Perhaps a more controlled hunt for the past several years would have been a better approach.
     
  4. janeeng
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    I will agree there, they claim too that these bears are a danger to society, yet I have yet to see any news claiming injuries, deaths, scares, etc... only news that came about, a cub found in the dumpster of garbage! BIG SCARE!
     
  5. Moi
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    Moi Active Member

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    It would be great if they could figure out a way to alleviate the problem without hunting. However, I have to wonder how many of those opposed to hunting the bears eat meat, wear leather and take medicine.
     
  6. Moi
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    Moi Active Member

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    They may have given out that many permits but didn't they limit the actual number of kills to under 500?
     
  7. eric
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    eric Guest

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    This is just wrong !

    I love it, we invade and destroy their habitat and then complain that they are a nuisance. :mad:
     
  8. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    Good point Moi, and I agree. But the though of 5200 hunters out in the woods going after bears and the fact that there has been no hunting in the state for 33 years is somewhat scary. I realize that a portion of the hunter were most likely very skilled but I wouldn't want to be out there.
     
  9. Moi
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    Moi Active Member

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    Good point right back atcha- Orange or no orange, you wouldn't catch me out there.
     
  10. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    I agree we should never think wildlife is a nuisance. We should try for the best balace of our development in rural areas and the populations of wildlife. Letting bear populations grow to such numbers is not good for them or humans.
     

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