The Bear Hunt Debate Begins Anew – Does N.J. Need It? [POLL]
You could ask anyone who’s encountered a black bear outside his or her home, and the unequivocal answer will be a resounding “yes!”…we need a bear hunt!
Although speak to the many protesters and they’ll say that the hunt is nothing more than a 'bait and shoot,' or just a set up to lure the bear to eventually be killed; and is being done merely for the sport.
Susan Russell of the Animal Protection League of New Jersey and the Bear Education and Resource Group, claims the hunt is a bait and shoot.
Russell says baiting lures the bears from the wild into communities, often using carcasses, vegetables, and honey, according to lehighvalleylive.com. Baiting is not allowed in National Wildlife Refuges and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area, according to the DEP.
So far more than 5,300 black bear hunting permits had been granted for 2012. Bear hunting season runs from Dec. 3 through 8. DEP figures said 469 bears were killed during the 2011 hunt.
New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel says the bear hunt is unwarranted. "It is a trophy hunt, and has nothing to do with managing the bear population,” he said,. “It is all about sport."
The Sierra Club has proposed increased public education and better ways to handle garbage disposal as methods of controlling the bear population. Bears often roam the residential areas just foraging through garbage cans.
American black bears are native to New Jersey. Areas included in the hunt are Warren County, and parts of Hunterdon. Sussex, Somerset, Passaic and Bergen Counties.
A group known as savenjbears.com has put up a Facebook page in memory of “Samantha,” who lived 31 years. The page says Samantha was the Bear Education and Reource Group’s mascot between 1995 and 2000, and her face was seen on the covers of newsletters, lawn signs, and advertisements.
The Bear Education and Resource Group will be having protests on Dec. 3 and 8 at 10 a.m. at the Whittingham Wildlife Management Area on 148 Fredon-Springdale Road in Fredon Township, Sussex County.
While I would certainly like to believe that we could coexist with our furry friends, somehow I have a hard time buying into it.
Black bears do not belong in the more populated areas of the state.
And as we have seen on many an occasion, their migratory abilities allow them to travel from the more rural areas of Sussex, Warren, Passaic, and Morris Counties, into the more densely populated areas of the state.
And I really don't see a problem with it being for sport. We fish for sport...we hunt other types of game for sport...why should the bear be exempt from that?
What say you?
Are you in favor or opposed to the annual bear hunt in New Jersey?