‘Reality of NJ Bear Hunt’
It is a privilege for many of us to be able to hike, camp or live in an area where black bears roam. Their timid attitude serves them well, when startled they run away or climb a tree. Bears being bears or acting naturally are blameless. We need to stop persecuting bears and other animals for being themselves. Bears only come around people when there is food available. Bears do not consider people food. Bears are rarely dangerous to people. Co-existence with bears comes with responsibility. Do not approach animals in the wild, respect their habitat, and never feed wildlife. Securing garbage and food is the most effective means of limiting human bear interactions. Education is important because the greatest problems that black bears face are human misconceptions that lead to excessive fear. The number of bears who people will tolerate, also called the cultural carrying capacity as opposed to biological carrying capacity, depends upon human attitudes.
The New Jersey bear hunt is not in the interest of public safety. The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife does not protect wildlife. Its existence is contingent on killing animals, like black bears and deer. Recreational hunting is both inefficient and counterproductive. A bear hunt will not help reduce the number of bear/ human interactions and can lead to increased nuisance behavior. Trophy hunting or recreational sport hunting is the kind of animal killing that most resembles murder. It is premeditated and without justification. The animals are innocent victims killed for egogratification and fun. According to a hunters’ mindset animals are “game” whose lives have no value. Hunting is not sound science. It is sound fun for unsound individuals who commit cowardly acts. The only excuse to kill and eat animals would be purely for survival. But this scenario is rare. Psychologically speaking, there is little difference between killing animals and killing human beings. Repeated scientific studies have shown a strong correlation between animal cruelty and violence towards humans. Someone who can cause pain and suffering to an animal without feeling any empathy towards that living creature is likely to have that same disconnect when dealing with human beings. We need legislators and a Governor who will stand up for animal rights, not animal wrongs. Put the weapons down and shoot with a camera.
— Kim Nagelhout, Park Ridge, NJ; Director of Special Events, Research & Creative Education – NJ Bear Group