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2011 New Jersey Bear Trophy Hunt. Massacre of 464 Bears. Public Getting More Unhappy.

It has been five days since the 2011 New Jersey black bear massacre ended, and the official count of the dead amounted to 464. A more detailed accounting will be published later in the next year by the Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW), a report that will list the different weights, gender, area of the kill, and information like such. Just like the report for the 2010 massacre, I expect that more than half the kill will be young bears weighing less than 100 pounds.

I stood across the gates of the Franklin weigh station on the first day, Dec. 5th, and watched cub after cub trucked in to be measured and weighed and for the killers to have their proverbial trophy photo taken. Yes, the one that virtually says, " Look, I killed a bear and proud of it. " The fact that most of the kills were mere cubs didn't mean less pride. And, quite frankly, I am not sure if DFW will be honest about their figures concerning the number of cubs killed. It has been argued that DFW is nothing but a private hunting club masquerading as a government body.

I am truly amazed at how 1% of the state's population is catered to by the governor with, so far, two consecutive annual trophy hunts. You'd think that a politician would go for the 99% to get himself elected and re-elected. The difference is better organization---the 1% is a well-organized and well-funded voting bloc made up of gun and hunting enthusiasts while the 99% are scattered, individual voters who do not act in concert. Animal rights people need to be better organized, and be constantly in touch with their government reps. We're working on it. If you are not yet a member of the New Jersey League of Humane Voters (http://lohvnj.org/chapters.html), please get on board. We also need to you join the Animal Protection League of New Jersey (http://www.aplnj.org/).

Readers comments are still coming in at the different newspapers, and some of them are very compelling. It's a good sign, and I believe that this second bear trophy hunt increased the ire of the people and the number of people who are willing to speak out against it.

Here is a couple worthy of note:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Take action to protect black bear population

Watching the second bear hunt under the Christie regime unfold, I must ask, "Is this New Jersey or communist China?"

From what I've read, the dictators of China, much like New Jersey's current political leadership, have little regard for animals or people. How can 1 percent of the population (hunters), dictate how we manage our black bears? Why is the Department of Environmental Protection not enforcing the ban on feeding the bears?

Why is no one in the Legislature introducing a bill to protect black bears? Why is the DEP trying to deny the bear defenders' constitutional right to assemble in a public place to protest the killing? Why is the press and media not giving the animal rights activists equal time?

There have been long articles in the Herald News about hunters who find perverse pleasure in killing the bears, yet less coverage about the many activists who oppose the slaughter. Wake up my fellow New Jerseyans. Contact your legislators and remind them that we are their boss and we want our black bears protected, not massacred.

We gave these feckless politicians the privilege of representing us, and we can take it away. This is one thing that we can still do that China can't.

Richard Jaretsky

Clifton

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Bear hunt was barbaric, unnecessary

Dec. 13, 2011

Gov. Chris Christie, the Department of Environmental Protection and Fish and Wildlife should be ashamed of themselves for killing the black bears of New Jersey. This bear hunt for “safety reasons” and “population control” is nothing more than a blood-thirsty slaughter in disguise. They have purposely villainized bears in order to justify their hunt.We are not fools. We know the real reason for this bear hunt. Revenues are declining in the coffers of Fish and Wildlife with fewer and fewer people choosing to hunt our wildlife. They need to sell licenses. They need to get more people interested in killing wildlife. Otherwise they will be out of business and will perhaps not be able to hunt themselves. They are nothing more than a self-interest group trying to justify themselves each year. Its like the fox guarding the hen house.

I live in the woods of Sussex County, and we do not have a problem with bears. Most bears are timid creatures who shy away from human contact. We see a bear once every few months as it passes through. It is an amazing and beautiful animal to watch. It may take a quick drink out of our birdbath and then off it goes. If we step outside to get a closer look they scamper away. We keep our garbage in a bear proof can and we don't leave pet food outside. My neighbors do the same. We have learned how to live with bears and we feel privileged to see them occasionally.

We do not feed the bears but hunters are allowed to do so. They create bait piles of doughnuts, cookies, etc. in the woods prior to this hunt to acclimate the bears to human food. Then they get up in their tree stand over the bait pile and kill the hungry bear. Its like shooting fish in a barrel. They call themselves sportsmen and nothing could be further from the truth. Is it any wonder that 250-plus bears are killed the first day and then the numbers go down each day thereafter? A cub must be terrified after seeing its mother slaughtered on the doughnut pile. And yet if we put some food out for a bear we can be fined. What a double-standard state we live in.

Hunters also bait the deer in a similar fashion and yet Fish and Wildlife is trying to take away our right to feed deer. This is a very corrupt agency with the National Rifle Association behind them, and they need to be either abolished or completely overhauled. But I'm sure Christie won't do it. He's in bed right alongside them.

Someday the people of New Jersey will say “enough” en masse and we will move forward into the 21st century and have a more humane state. Five-hundred plus bears were not born to die. They were an important part of our ecosystem. Shame on our state for killing them.

Barbara J. Haley, ANDOVER

Comments

Catherine said…
This hunt is a black mark on New Jersey, as if we need any more. Governor Christie didn't get my vote last go-around, and I look forward to casting my ballot against him in the next election. The word "management" infuriates me. Last time I checked there was an overpopulation of humans in the state but we're not shooting them.
Ted Teodoro said…
We didn't need even one black bear hunt since no one truly has checked the facts that DFW have presented --- 3400 black bears in NJ. It's like them insisting that secured garbage bins are part of their 5-yr black bear management program but they don't really have the money to fund it. A news report last year filmed unsecured garbage all over one neighborhood where bears were reported to be a "nuisance." Someone asked, if these bears were actually a nuisance and an everyday sight in neighborhoods, why do hunters have to even bait them with donuts?

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