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Home > Columnists > Alice Park
December 06, 2011

Bears wreak havoc on New Jersey…except not really

Bears have been mooching off people's crops and garbage for far too long. (UPI/Debbie Hill)

     News Editor

   On top of toll hikes, taxes, unemployment, hurricane and snowstorm damages, New Jersey has another thing to worry about—bears, specifically black bears. Those 300-plus pound, towering, furry, giant-clawed creatures of doom: they have no regard for personal space and property. They insert themselves into the daily lives of New Jerseyans with their trash rummaging and crop stomping. They halt traffic by running across highways without looking both ways. Bears don’t have manners, common courtesy and contrary to Disney’s The Jungle Book, they’re not lovable, fun-loving mammals who break out into song. In fact, they’ll probably try to eat your face if you attempt to hug them. Something has to be done, and thank the higher powers that be, the state’s courts, decided to take care of the plaguing ursus americanus by quashing a legal challenge brought by environmental groups and upholding the bear hunt for 2011.

   Hunting black bears was illegal for several decades. The species was near-extinction in the late 1960s and early 1970s. With no people to put these dastardly bruins in their place, the population rose dramatically, especially between the 1980s and 1990s. New Jersey became beleaguered by bears, as sightings were reported from all 21 counties. There are currently approximately 3,400 bears roaming New Jersey, causing damages to farmlands and entering homes, exacting revenge in the name of their ancestors, who suffered the indignity of Goldilocks eating their porridge and messing up their sheets.  

   Previous hunts in New Jersey have taken place in 2003, 2005 and 2010. In an attempt to overturn the state’s approved week-long black bear hunt this year, animal rights advocates and environmental groups took the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) bear management policy to New Jersey’s appellate  division last week. The New Jersey Animal Protection League and the Bear Education and Resource Group argued that the DEP and Fish and Game Council used arbitrary guidelines, and acted in bad faith when creating their bear management policy. New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel added that the bear hunt was nothing more than a recreational activity under a tentative excuse of population control. Tittel said, “Human-bear interactions and bear-related complaints can often be attributed to a singular nuisance bear within a region, living close to homes. The bears that ultimately paid the price of the hunt were those living in the forests that do not venture into neighborhoods and communities. Eliminating these docile bears is not part of an effective bear management plan.”

   Despite the advocate groups’ arguments, the three-judge panel dismissed their claims and announced the bear hunt would proceed from December 5 through December 10. Judge Philip S. Carchman wrote in his decision that the plaintiffs “failed to demonstrate that respondents acted arbitrarily or capriciously or in bad faith.”

   The DEP Commissioner hailed the court’s decision: “This ruling affirms the science—and fact—based policy that we have adopted as part of a comprehensive approach to managing black bears in New Jersey. The plan is a legitimate response to deal with a large black bear population and a resultant increase in public complaints about bear and human encounters. This is a public safety issue that requires responsible action of the state.”

   One Bergen County legislator plans on cashing in on the bear hunt. Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-Bergen) was “disappointed in the ruling,” but accepted the decision. She said, “I’m by no means advocating the bear hunt, but if the courts, which have the final say, are going to allow this practice to continue in New Jersey, then lets raise the permit fee. “  Assemblywoman Wagner is proposing to raise the permit fee from $2 to $5 for state residents and create a $15 fee for out-of-state residents. “Despite which side of the debate you are on, in a time when our towns are struggling to balance their budgets, this is a reasonable thing to do to allow people to hunt bears.”

   Hunters get gargantuan bear-head, taxidermy trophies, the state gets revenue, the DEP controls bear population. Everybody wins—except for the bears—and the environmentalists.  

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بیش از ۶۰ سال است که محصولات گروه فن آوری بوتان مدعو خانه‌های پارس است. در تمام این سال‌ها، متخصصین گروه فن شناسی بوتان حیث بهبود و ارتقا صنعت ملی همواره در دلبستگی بوده و هستند تا با تولید محصولاتی شایسته خانواده‌های ایرانی، سفیر پارس در سایر نقاط جهان نیز باشند. در تولید محصولات گروه دانش فنی صنعت بوتان، از جمله آبگرمکن بلافاصله دیواری، پکیج شوفاژ دیواری، رادیاتور آلومینیومی و رادیاتور حوله خشک‌کن، همواره از تکنولوژی روز عالم كاربرد شده است.

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