An estimated 200 hunters were elated Monday after each taking a black bear on the opening day of New Jersey’s six-day hunt.
Animal activists and critics of the hunt weren’t so elated. They argued that a better way to reduce the state’s estimated 3,400 bears is to learn to deal with them.
“The anti-hunting groups have a word they describe, they want to have bear aversion training,” Dr. Larry Rudolph with Safari Club International told the Associated Press. “Somehow, they think these animals aren’t wild animals but circus animals to be trained to avoid humans. That’s not logical and that’s not possible. New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection cited almost 3,000 instances where there was human bear interface, with 46 of those involving bears actually entering into a residential home. I don’t think you want to come home and find a black bear in your kitchen, when you are ready to make dinner.”
No. No, I don’t.
This extreme opposition with the state’s decision to hold a bear hunt on the part of the antis is nothing new. Last week animal advocates went to court in an attempt to block the hunt only to be rebuffed by the state appellate court on Thursday. Undeterred by their loss they spent much of Monday trying to securing permission to demonstrate at bear check stations. And throughout their battles they have been very vocal.
Bear Education and Resource Group spokesperson Angie Metler told the media, “A bear hunt doesn’t solve nuisance complaints, a bear hunt doesn’t protect property, a bear hunt doesn’t protect public safety and the bear hunt will not reduce the population.”
Another vocal opponent Susan Kehoe said, “It is sad, especially when there is no need for a hunt. It is just a trophy hunt. It is not about bear population, it is not about safety, it is a trophy hunt. They are not dangerous.” Kehoe knows bears aren’t dangerous because she said that a bear once left her cubs in her care (Author’s confession: It took me five minutes to type the prior sentence because I was laughing so hard. What? Is she a bear babysitter? Provide in-home bear cub daycare? What does she mean a mama bear left her cubs in her care?)
Of course the state says the hunt is necessary and is a “comprehensive, science fact-based response to the large black bear population and increase in public complaints about bear and human encounters.”
The hunt ends this Saturday.
What do you think Outdoor Life readers? Is this hunt necessary or do organizations like the Bear Education and Resource Group make a valid point?