69 Bear Invasions In New Jersey Last Year: Hunt On
Dog wounded in New Jersey black bear attack. Image credit:News 12, video.
Without getting into what constitutes a black bear "home invasion" or "pet attack" incident, all would agree that black bears frequently in the yard, tipping trash cans, smashing the chicken coup, attacking pets in the yard, and possibly breaking in on a search for food calls for action. There is an environmental side to this story, too, as reported on NJ News 12 Interactive and elsewhere and it not just a NJ issue.
One faction - the one characterized as 'environmentalist' - argues that humans are partly to blame, for building so many isolated homes in the woods and for putting food waste where bears have easy access - effectively baiting them to a year round feeding station. Last year, NJ's bear prone areas tried better trash management and the problem didn't go away (of course). There is a new Republican Governor and it looks like a managed hunt will be authorized for this coming winter.I say "of course" because bears can live a long while and are territorial: and once they learn bad habits they are not going to change. So, it's probably necessary to have both a managed cull (with a regulated and measurable outcome) in addition to better trash management (harder to manage and measure outcome because it means having to change the far less predictable habits of humans).
Life in the NJ exurbs is going to be like camping in a state park.
Composting is something the threatened families might have to forget about for a few years. Transition town developers and settlers of the future: remember this lesson.
This problem is quite similar to the one of formerly-migratory Canada geese hanging around all year to poop on sidewalks and parks. Suburban development spawned massive acreages of delicious grass to attract grazing geese and gave them millions of nicely fenced storm water detention basins to hang out in and breed by. When this was done and geese became 'invasive' everyone complained bitterly about geese poop underfoot, or worse, flocks of geese get sucked into jet engines. Shooting, repelling and dogging them is a far less sustainable solution than simply allowing foxes an entry through the storm water basin fence and by not mowing right up to open water. This latter practice discourages them when vegetation shifts to shrubs and cattails.
Put that fantasy away.
I just know somebody is about to comment 'If a bear breaks into my kitchen or garage I'm wasting it' ...or something to that effect. Experienced hunters understand the flaw in this thinking: wounded and terrified omnivorous animal , much larger and stronger than you, with no way to exit...you don't want to go there.
Even if you somehow managed to kill the hypothetical invading bear - bravely defending the refrigerator or trash can and contents from certain destruction - the likelihood of expensive and dangerous collateral damage from home or yard bear shooting is high. There could be a gawd-awful mess to clean up and a very large dead bear to remove if you made that shot to the vitals; plus, a following invasion of news cameras, costly carpet replacement, angry neighbors, lawyers, and so on.
No...this suburban wildlife management job is for the licensed and experienced hunter now, and for municipal zoning code writers of the future.