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New Jersey Sets Bear Hunt for Six Days in December

November 16, 2005 | Bears
By JOHN HOLL, published in the New York Times on November 16, 2005

New Jersey will hold a six-day hunt next month to reduce the state's bear population after an increase this year in complaints about problem bears. Bradley M. Campbell, the commissioner of the state's Department of Environmental Protection, said a culling is necessary because "communities are fearful for their safety and the safety of their families." He said the state received nearly 1,000 complaints so far this year about bears, which he said was up "significantly" from all of last year, when 756 damage and nuisance complaints were filed.

Two bears were killed in August in Sussex County in northwest New Jersey after one broke into a house and another broke into a shed. And, in another case this year, a camper was awakened by a bear but he was able to scare it away. The state's Fish and Game Council, an independent panel whose members are appointed by the governor, approved a hunt earlier this year, but only Mr. Campbell can schedule the bear hunt. Last year, Mr. Campbell blocked a hunt, saying the state would be better off exploring other management tools such as contraception and public awareness campaigns. The State Supreme Court sided with Mr. Campbell and ruled that a hunt could not be held until a comprehensive plan was approved. Now, with the plan approved, the 4,000 hunters who have applied for permits will have a chance to kill black bears with shotguns from Dec. 5 to Dec. 10, provided they pass a safety course. Mr. Campbell noted that the hunt could be called off early if state biologists determined that too many bears have been killed. Though bears have been sighted in all of New Jersey's 21 counties, the hunt will be limited to a 1,600-square-mile area in the northwestern part of the state north of Interstate 78 and west of Interstate 287. In 2003, 328 bears were killed in the state's first bear hunt in 33 years. Last year, Mr. Campbell called a hunt unnecessary, saying the bear population was about 1,600, though several independent studies estimated that the number was closer to 3,200. Earlier this year Mr. Campbell said the bear population was estimated to be between 2,000 to 3,000. Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, an animal rights group based in Darien, Conn., said she was disappointed by Mr. Campbell's decision, especially because Governor-elect Jon S. Corzine opposed a hunt. She said she expects that animal rights groups will go to court to block the hunt and will likely protest once the hunt begins. "It will be high drama," she said. "It will stir a lot of people up."

Friends of Animals opposes the offensive bear hunt, and encourages others to non-violently dissent against this killing.



"Support the Right to Arm Bears" Stickers, 2 for $2.00. Available at the Friends of Animals store.




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As a hunter and former soldier who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, I have strong views on this subject. First off, yes, every sentient being has the right to life. Iraqis included. However, war is a necessary evil. I do not agree with war to any degree. I'm not just speaking of the Iraqi war, I'm speaking of all wars. We should all be able to exercise our brains enough to create non violent ways of settling differences. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way. There are those who will not rest until there is bloodshed no matter how many peace talks are held or how many compromises are made. When those people act out, gentlemen like myself defend those who are not able to defend themselves. In this case, it happens to be muslim extremists who will not rest without bloodshed. How does that relate to hunting? Huntin is a necessary evil. Like it or not, our bodies require meat. Yes, you can get protein from nuts and beans and other things of that nature. However, you can not get the specific proteins found in meat from any other source. Those protein strands are required for proper brain and motor function as well as muscle repair and various other functions of the human body. Now for the part that is dear to my heart. Do you wear leather or wool? Does any part of your diet consist of dairy products or meat? Well, those animals were born to die. That is their sole purpose in life. They have no chance of living a full life at all. Now, the deer I shot this morning on the other hand.....It had a chance. I shot it with a crossbow, not high tech gadgetry. That deer could have heard me with it's highly sensitive hearing. It could have smelled the human on me with it's highly sensitive nose. It could have even seen me. It could have decided to take another path through the woods and I would have never been afforded the opportunity to kill it. Bottom line: The deer had a chance. The slaughtered animals you see on the shelves in supermarkets didn't. Further more, I don't hunt for sport. I hunt for meat. I do not have one animal head, hide or antlers mounted on my wall. I am disgusted by those who hunt for the trophy. Many times I have seen a deer lying dead in the woods, rotting away with it's antlers and hooves cut off. That my freinds, is a disgrace to hunters everywhere, not to mention that it is a dishonor to the creature. I hunt for the meat because the animal had that chance that so many others didn't. Some are against hunting simply because that steak they ate last night didn't have fur or eyes when they bought it and the thought of a living creature being killed sends chills down their spine. They don't have to look at the animal in whole, just the part on their plate. It is not an animal to them, it is only a meal. I hunt deer because the meat is healthier and leaner than any other wild game. Aside from a few fish, but I take part in that also when the weather permits. When I kill, I do it as my Chicamauga ancestors did, with a bow and arrow. I don't do it with an electric shock or a blade like the animals on the grocer's shelves.

It's interesting that so many people believe war is a necessary evil. Even you, John Simon, "do not agree with war to any degree." You add "I'm not just speaking of the Iraqi war, I'm speaking of all wars. We should all be able to exercise our brains enough to create non violent ways of settling differences." That is a beautiful comment. Then you add: "Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way." Given that the U.S. was not attacked by Iraqis, it's particularly odd in this case that people decided to hold a war. A war without an opponent is even weirder than the idea of war itself. You know, John Simon, like it or not, the truth is that our bodies do not require meat. Some of us have been living with no need for it (nor dairy, nor leather, nor wool) for over twenty years. We do not believe in causing the situation in which, as you say, individuals have no chance of living a full life. The co-founder of the Vegan Society, a pure vegetarian for decades, just passed away at the ripe old age of 95. Now, the deer you shot would have had a far better chance had you enjoyed a oven-fresh cashew nut roast, with a steaming side of cabbage and carrots. John Simon, you too were born to die, but we won't kill you either. We hope you have a full life, and that you consider the concept of letting others live in peace. Lee Hall
Friends of Animals

What everyone has to reaize is that wildlife is a resource that should be honored. The general public needs to base their oppinions on facts and knowledge of the species in question, rather than base their attacks solely on emotions. In other words people as a whole need to think about things wholistically and not what the impact will be on a certain species. The purpose of the hunt is to not "slaughter poor inocent animals" but it manages a healthy herd. If hunting was abolished all together then many species would suffer and die from starvation and disease. Also what about your vehicle? No one wants to hit a deer or a bear with their car. Hunting keeps these factors in check and keeps the populations healthier.

John Degree, You touched on another point that I forgot to address in all my rambling. It is a very good point at that. No one will ever convince me that humans do not require meat. I'm not saying that you can't live a long life and be healthy, but clinical studies do not lie, like it or not. Yes, I've seen clinical studies that say that we do not require meat. Of course those studies were either conducted, funded, or otherwise motivated by [advocacy]. Oven fresh cashew nut roast with a side of cabbage?!? Cabbage makes me gag. I love cashews, but sheesh. This reminds me of religions such as Shinto that believe that everything has a spirit. Even the chair you sit in. I'm not slanderizing anyone's religion....hell I'm Zen Buddhist myself.....but why not stop killing the vegetables? Let them live the life they were meant to live and die of natural causes. We don't NEED vegetables. We can get the same nutrients from vitamins. Sounds silly to you, right? Well a belief that we should not kill animals for food sounds silly to me. But, please keep in mind that I respect your beliefs even though I do not agree. Differences in opinion make this world turn. If the Puritans had not disagreed with England, America would not be what it is today. Like I said, I strongly disagree with those who hunt for the trophy. I think it dishonors the animal as well as the rest of nature and mankind. I know a few people of that nature and I try to persuade them to at least donate the meat to Hunters for the Homeless. That is a group that takes hunted meat and donates it to homeless shelters. Then at least the animal's meat would not go to waste. But they do not listen. That said, I understand and respect the viewpoint of Freinds of Animals. I have a great respect for wildlife (I know, some of you think I'm a hypocrite now...) I've personally taken in plenty of stray animals (wolves, foxes, cats, etc.) and kept them around the farm or nursed them back to health and released them into the wild. So, I think Freinds of Animals is a good group that helps to balance things out in the relationship between humans and the other animals. I bid you adieu fellow humans. Happy blogging!

Hmmm.......It seems as if I have struck a nerve.......


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