Bear attack in NJ is blood on Gov. Murphy’s hands (Opinion)
If that headline seems dramatic to you, please hear me out.
A few days ago in Sussex County a woman went outside her home with her two dogs. She stumbled onto the scene of two huge bears, both estimated to be between 400 and 500 pounds, that had helped themselves to the contents of her trash cans.
The dogs, one older and one younger thus faster, charged after the bears. One bear bolted and the other stood its ground.
The younger dog was too quick for the bear but the older dog was soon in the huge animal's jaws.
I can’t imagine the fear this woman, who is 81 years old by the way, felt about having to make that one-second decision. She intervened. She tried to get her dog from the bear's clutches only to be attacked herself. She felt the bear bite into her flesh and tear open her leg. Next, the bear's claw swatted at her head creating puncture wounds.
We can only imagine the trauma she has suffered.
Then it turned its attention back to its prey and carried the helpless dog off into the woods in its jaws.
When help arrived the woman received medical attention and first responders voyaged into the woods and found the dog still alive but mortally wounded. It was brought to a vet where it died.
The woman received seven stitches to close the wound on her leg. We can only imagine the trauma she has suffered.
While bear attacks are still rare, let’s not forget in 2014 a Rutgers student on a hiking trail was confronted by a bear that tore him to pieces. His partial remains were later found. More recently there was the 82-year-old man attacked by a bear that had gotten into his garage.
Murphy does not follow science.
Which brings me to my point. In a two-year period while Phil Murphy has been governor, the bear population in New Jersey literally doubled. Why? Because he does not listen to his own wildlife experts who have told him bear hunting is necessary to control this population. He does not follow science.
First, by executive order, he canceled all bear hunts on state land which took away 40% of the territory available to hunters to control the population. Next, when the program was up for renewal, he made sure that no action was taken so that the bear hunts would end. As it stands now there will be no more bear hunting in New Jersey whatsoever.
So what do we expect to happen? Do I even need to point it all out? The population is going to explode. And the amount of land needed for one bear to sustain itself is larger than you would think. This means bears are going to spread out and end up in more built-up human territory. This in turn means that they will slowly become more familiar with humans and lose their fear.
Once that happens, we are bound to see what we saw this week in Sparta. More property damage, more aggression and eventually more bear attacks.
We need to bring back bear hunts. Period.
Phil Murphy’s assertion that we can control the bear population through humane means is nonsense and his own wildlife scientists have told him so. He’s not listening to them. He’s not listening to the facts. He’s not listening to the hunters who by the way are the greatest ecologists the world has.
So yes, this governor indeed has blood on his hands and he will have more someday. We need to bring back bear hunts. Period.
And for all those bleeding hearts who will tell you it’s not fair to the bears because we encroached on their land, ask them if they sleep on a pile of leaves in the forest at night or inside their own warm house. Then ignore their hypocrisy.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
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