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Back to Bear Stuff TopState Trying to Deal with Bear Problems

Sunday, June 10, 2001

Source: NJ Record, Outdoors

As the black bear population in our region continues to expand, so does the frequency of bear sightings. This is the time of the year when bears are on the move.

Year-and-a-half-old bruins, averaging 150 pounds, are being forced by larger bears to leave the area where they were born and seek new habitats. A bear seen in Parsippany on May 9, was seen again in Lambertville 20 days later. It had gained 10 pounds while on the move.

Bigger bears have been seen in various locations. A bruin estimated to weigh some 600 pounds was encountered in Bloomington. A close-to-home siting occurred recently on the Palisades Parkway between Englewood Cliffs and Fort Lee.

So far this spring, I've spotted a large female black bear and what must have been her cub, fishing in a small Delaware River feeder stream in the Poconos. I would not be surprised to spot one while enjoying the outdoors in Bergen County.

Biologists from the state Division of Fish and Wildlife has been busy responding to bear problems. Several bears that had become a hazard to property, pets. people had to be destroyed.

While some people say that black bears do not threaten humans as do grizzlies, a recent report from northern Canada gives an opposite conclusion. An 18-year-old man, who was camping with friends, was killed by a black bear that had come seeking food.

State wildlife managers are aggressively pursuing the problem of an estimated 1,000-plus black bears rambling through many woodlands and backcountry areas.

From intensive public education and information efforts, to actively relocating or, when there is no alternative, killing animals that have become a problem, every attempt is being made to keep the situation under control.

Many Garden Staters insist that a bear hunting season is one of the surest ways to reduce the number of bruins and keep them at a level consistent with the available habitat.

Others still cling to an anti-hunting viewpoint, unwilling to recognize the intensifying dilemma. Let us hope that it won't take a tragic incident to change their minds.

The Spring Wild Turkey Gobbler season saw more than 3,000 birds bagged by between 16,000 and 17,000 hunters.

This program is one of the most dramatic examples of successful, modem wildlife management, providing exciting hunting opportunities for thousands of the state's outdoorsmen and women, while restoring a wildlife species that had almost disappeared from New Jersey.

A simple calculation shows that the possibility of bagging a wild gobbler in New Jersey is equivalent to or exceeds the success ratio of any other region in this part of the nation.

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