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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-12-2016, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
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NJ Bear Hunt

Final hunt day draws ex-senator, protesters, but is short on bears - New Jersey Herald -

FREDON -- With temperatures just below freezing and snow falling, state Sen. Ray Lesniak, a Democrat from Union County, and former U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli were among more than 75 protesters outside the Whittingham Wildlife Management Area Saturday for the final day of the state bear hunt.
After officials with the Department of Environmental Protection announced that they believed the bipedal bear, known as Pedals, was killed during the archery/muzzleloader segment of the bear hunt in October, Lesniak introduced a bill, called Pedals' Law, that seeks a five-year moratorium on the bear hunt. The proposal also would prohibit baiting as a hunting aid and would promote non-lethal alternatives to hunting.

The bill has gained approval from the Senate economic growth committee, but a vote by the full state Senate has yet to be scheduled.
On Saturday, Lesniak reiterated the reasoning behind his proposed bill and was met with applause from the crowd of protesters.
"I am proclaiming that this will be the last day of the bear hunt in the state of New Jersey," Lesniak told the New Jersey Herald. "There are so many non-lethal means to manage the bear population."
Torricelli, who lives on a 700-acre farm in Hunterdon County, said he saw a single bear once on his property.
Standing outside with his pure white Siberian husky, Torricelli said he was "deeply offended" by the bear hunt, calling it "more of a slaughter than a sport."
"I pledge to end the bear hunt. They are slaughtering entire families, even these 40-pound bears that have just been born," he said. "This isn't hunting, this is slaughtering."
Bill Crain, the City College of New York professor and resident of Poughquag, N.Y., who was sentenced on Thursday to 10 days in jail after his seventh civil disobedience conviction stemming from repeated bear protests, also made an appearance at the Fredon check station from 10 a.m. to noon.

Crain said he came out to do everything he could to protest "these cruel bear hunts" and to show his solidarity.
"The undertone of the entire day was just tremendous pain and sadness," Crain said as he got emotional.
Referring to his jail sentence, Crain said it will be "undoubtedly unpleasant," but said it would be "nothing compared to the bear hunt and what the bears go through."
"(My jail sentence) is a way of showing how serious I take this cruel slaughter; a way of showing this matters deeply, so I am willing to serve the time in jail," he said.
Crain said he has received tremendous support from his friends after they heard of his sentencing.
Dani Varon, of Vernon, who had been standing outside for two hours bundled up in layers, said she would have come out regardless of the weather.
"I would be here even if it was pouring rain," she said.
Protesters, including a child with his father, came and went throughout the morning, holding coffee and wrapping up in warm blankets, as they held posters in the air and shouted words of disgust to half-dozen law enforcement officials.

As of noon, no hunters had arrived at the weigh station.
"It has been slow the entire week," said Robert Geist, DEP spokesman, who was standing by in Fredon.
Geist said that any number of factors could account for why bears are not active this time of year, including the colder weather.
"Sows (female bears) are already denning up for the winter, and this segment started out with a lot of rain and sleet, so the weather hasn't been the greatest," Geist said.
Bears will only come out during the cold weather if they are hungry, Geist said, and more often then not, they are most likely already full for the remainder of the winter at this time of year.
Protester Cheryl Monnett, of West Milford, said she believes the reason for the scarcity of bears this week is that "most of them were killed in October."
Standing beside a flower wreath with the words "RIP all of our beloved bears," Varon said she felt "disgusted" and "sick" over the hunt and believes that it is important for people to educate themselves on bears.

"Get a garbage-proof can. This is their habitat, and hunters are just going in there, baiting them with junk food and killing everything they can around them," Varon said. "We have people move from the city to Sussex County and there is a whole new set of rules. A bear is going to want to eat your trash; they are hungry. The people need to educate themselves."
Varon and Monnett also said that they have never come upon a black bear that has been aggressive.
"I have horses on my farm and the bear never even go near them. I've gone hiking and I've seen bears and they just go off in the other direction," Monnett said.
Jan Fredericks, president of God's Creatures Ministry in Wayne, came out to protest because she believes people need to build a stronger sense of compassion for all animals.
"The Bible mentions hunting and that we need to be held accountable for our actions," she said.
Although prostesters came in droves, with as many as a 100 at any given time, Geist said that as of noon, no arrests had been made.
"It's been relatively amicable," Geist said.

Geist said the bear hunt is part of the DEP's comprehensive management plan that will determine, among other factors, where the bear population is in the state.
Although total bear counts were not tallied as of Saturday evening for the final day of the hunt, a total of 67 bears had been counted throughout the state's check stations as of Saturday.
An additional four bears were brought into the Fredon weigh station on Friday.
With the October segment included, the total number of bears killed is 629.
Friday's total included two tagged bears, bumping the season total to 51, or 25.9 percent of tagged bears.
The hunt ended a half-hour after sunset on Saturday.
Lori Comstock can also be reached on Twitter: @Lori ComstockNJH or by phone: 973-383-1194.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-13-2016, 09:53 AM
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U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli
"I pledge to end the bear hunt. They are slaughtering entire families, even these 40-pound bears that have just been born," he said. "This isn't hunting, this is slaughtering."

It's ironic how HIS democratic party has no problem with abortion yet he despises the "slaughtering" of bears. At least those 40lb. bears are given a chance to live.

What a joke.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-13-2016, 10:48 AM
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"Pedals' Law" - Only in New Jersey!
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-14-2016, 07:02 AM Thread Starter
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Bears were scarce in December hunt, but why? - New Jersey Herald -

Was it bad weather or too few bears left in the woods that led to fewer than 100 bears killed in last week's shotgun bear season?
At this point, state wildlife officials said they won't have an educated answer until early next year after they look at the results of their annual survey of hunters, but they expect weather is likely to blame, with cold weather and snow sending bruins into their winter dens earlier than in past years.

Yet the entire 2016 bear season, which included an October archery hunt, saw a record number of bruins harvested.
At the close of the six-day hunt on Saturday, hunters had brought 74 bears to a mandatory check station, a segment total that was less than the number taken on just the first day of any of the past five years. Daily checks were given out by the state beginning 2011.
Larry Herrighty, assistant director for operations of the Division of Fish and Wildlife, said that anecdotally, "we had as many hunters the first day as in past years," yet the first day harvest was 27 bears. "The numbers dropped dramatically after that first day."

On the other hand, preliminary first-day numbers for deer taken that same day -- the shotgun bear and deer seasons coincide -- was up 29 percent over last year, he said. On the first day of the 2015 hunt -- when weather was in the 50s -- hunters took 216 bears. For the entire 2015 season, a total of 510 bears were reported killed by hunters.
Herrighty said the results from the other five days of the deer hunt had not been tabulated by late Monday afternoon. Deer hunters are required to report their harvest, but can do that by self-reporting, rather than appearing at a state-operated check station.

Bear hunters, however, must bring their kill so biologists can gather data such as weight, sex, tooth sample and sometimes a blood sample. Hunters are also asked to pinpoint on a map where the bear was shot.
"Talking to our law enforcement folks, as the week went on, they reported seeing fewer cars in the usual (parking) spots," Herrighty said.
"And toward the end of the week, there was snow and temperatures of like 18 degrees," he said, an indication the worsening weather also kept hunters from going into the woods.
The weather conditions, such as cold weather in the couple of weeks leading up to the hunt, are usually when bears go into extended sleep periods known as "torpor." In that state, they would not awaken simply by a hunter walking nearby. Their nests are often covered by leaves, under a brush or rock pile, or in crevasses in the face of a ledge.
The assistant director said another indicator of fewer bears moving around is the network of people, both hunters and wildlife researchers, who have trail cameras in the woods.
"They were telling us there were plenty of bears showing up on their cameras (in November), but a lot less just before the hunt," Herrighty said.
He also pointed out that more than 9,000 of the available 11,000 bear permits had been sold, although many of them had been picked up for the October archery/muzzleloader season. And this year, hunters were allowed a bag limit of two bears, one in each of the segments.

Those permit holders will be sent a survey, as in past years, asking questions about if and when and where they hunted, what game they saw while hunting, and other observations.
Critics of the hunt pointed at the small numbers of bears killed on each day of the hunt as an indication that hunters were killing too many bears.
Herrighty, however, said the opposite is likely the case, as bear management experts in other Northeast states have urged New Jersey officials to expand the hunt to better control the state's population.
"They are seeing our bears coming to their states," he said. "We have two, three bears per square mile here, and in some areas up to eight bears, while they are telling us they have a bear for every two, three square miles."

Study of the New Jersey bear population began in 1980. It is perhaps the most-studied bear population in the country, except for one or two national parks.
Herrighty said that when the state designed the hunt in 2001, "we put it in December because we knew the full population wouldn't be available."
Normally, pregnant females are the first to seek a den. Sows with cubs born the past winter go into winter quarters after that. Males and other females are the last to seek a winter nest, and males often will move about on warm, sunny winter days.

As to population estimates, Herrighty said the division is very confident in its numbers and said the objective is to have a healthy, stable bear population.
"A bear that's starving isn't what we want to see," he said, explaining that bears will move to areas where there are fewer bears/competition or become much more aggressive in seeking food from human sources.
Although December's segment harvest numbers were the lowest of any December hunt, the total 2016 bear hunt, when October's numbers are added in, yielded the most bears killed in a year.
The 2016 hunt saw 636 bears killed. The previous high was the 592 bears taken in 2010, when the hunt resumed after a five-year ban while the legality of a bear hunt was fought in the state's courts.
"We are pleased to have a record harvest," Herrighty said of the hunt's harvest rate. He said the results track pretty closely to the division's bear population estimate of 2,500 to 3,000.
Asked what the "ideal" bear population would be, he said, "That is the ‘sticky wicket.'"
Referring to carrying capacity of bear habitat and cultural capacity -- what the majority of humans in bear country will tolerate -- he added, "We want a healthy (bear) population, We don't want problems with bears. There really is no best number."

The state's black bear management policy, amended in 2015, is good through another few years until it legally has to be updated. The policy, as it now stands, calls for both an October archery/muzzleloader season and a December shotgun season.
"At this point, there is no desire to change that format," Herrighty said.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-16-2016, 12:29 PM
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I wouldn't even want to hunt bear in NJ with this kind of hatred for hunters. You might as well be the dentist who shot the lion or the zoo-keeper who shot Horambe the gorilla.
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