Cheers and Jeers

Cheers and Jeers

Jeers to the state of New Jersey for its latest assault on black bears. The Division of Fish and Wildlife recently slaughtered four black bears because they showed no signs of fearing people. The agency admits the bears likely became accustomed to people because visitors to Ramapo Mountain state park or nearby residents are feeding them.

We are sick and tired of wildlife paying the price for human error! We also think the wildlife agency ought to heed its own warning, and stop luring bears with pizza, jelly doughnuts and other junk food in the woods of New Jersey before shooting them, just so trophy hunters can turn the bears’ heads and hides into a rug or wall hanging.

Gov. Chris Christie has vilified black bears since he was elected in 2009 to cash in on campaign promises to pro-hunting groups like the New Jersey Outdoors Alliance, who rallied for his election—but his bear mismanagement plan is obviously doing nothing to decrease bear/human encounters.

New Jersey wildlife officials should be educating the public on what to do when they encounter a black bear, such as staying together and not running, and teaching them to always carry bear deterrent spray, rather than wasting time spreading bear-hating propaganda and slaughtering innocent animals. The state should also be supporting legislation that would prohibit bear baiting and make it mandatory for New Jersey residents to use bear-resistant garbage cans—another solution to human-bear encounters the state has ignored.


New Wisconsin Bill Would Prevent Photographing, Filming Hunters

 

What do hunters roaming the woods with loaded weapons think they have to fear? Animal rights activists with cameras apparently. We have a huge #jeer to a proposed bill in Wisconsin that would criminalize the “harassment” of hunters by animal rights activists. Let’s break this down really quick…who’s really doing the harassing in this situation? The hunter, who enters the home of wild animals living freely in the woods and slaughters them, or the person who enters the woods to document the wrong-doings of hunters on public lands? 

 

State Rep. Adam Jarchow, R, said that he drafted the bill after he received complaints about a group called Wolf Patrol following and filming bear hunters and their dogs this summer. The group aims to protect wolves, and also opposes hunting bears with dogs….and by all accounts they were not harassing hunters, but merely filming their killing from a reasonable distance. Regardless, penalties included in Jarchow’s bill include fines up to $10,000 and nine months in jail.

 

It’s difficult to believe that this bill has even made it this far in the legislative process, but it’s not surprising that the Republican senator who drafted it thinks that first amendment rights only extend to certain members of society… people concerned about animals not included.

Bills like the one in Wisconsin unfairly cast hunters as a group that’s being discriminated against, but in fact, even though hunters only make up less than 10 percent of the population, they are the ones violating everyone else’s rights to enjoy wildlife in a peaceful and natural setting by putting lives in danger. You can learn more about the dwindling population of hunters in America and the rise of wildlife watching in this article from a past edition of our magazine, Action Line

 Contact the members of the Senate committee that will be voting on the passage of this bill and tell them you strongly oppose this legislation and think that the state should focus more on encouraging peaceful coexistence between people and wildlife….not protecting hunters on public lands.