Monday, December 05, 2005

Bear Hunt starts in New Jersey.

Nation: The animal rights people aren't happy.

VERNON, N.J. - Braving freezing cold and irate animal rights activists, camouflage-clad bear hunters hit the fields and forests here Monday, taking aim at a species whose recovery in New Jersey has gone from conservation success to emerging public safety threat. Black bears have rebounded from near-extinction to become familiar sights across the nation's most densely populated state - rummaging through trash, menacing people and scampering through yards. With residents' complaints mounting, New Jersey's second bear hunt in 35 years was approved as a way to thin their ranks. "Bears are beautiful animals, but they've got to be controlled," said Joe Giunta, 59, of Frankford Township, who bagged one Monday morning. State officials said 54 bears were reported killed as of 2:30 p.m. The total number of bears killed during each day of the six-day hunt will not be available until the following day. The hunt, restricted to a vast swath of northwestern New Jersey and open to 4,434 hunters with permits, went off as scheduled after surviving a late court challenge Friday. "It's an emotional issue," said Martin McHugh, director of the state Division of Fish and Wildlife, which estimates the bear population at between 1,600 and 3,200. Bears have been spotted in each of New Jersey's 21 counties, but are concentrated in the area of the state where the hunt was taking place. About a dozen hunt opponents gathered at a weigh station at Wawayanda State Park on Monday, confronting hunters and forming "bear rescue teams" with plans to tend to wounded bears and follow hunters in what they said was a mission of mercy.
I wouldn't recommend the tending to wounded bears bit.

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