First day of bear season
yields an unusual find: Man
takes albino black bear in
By John Knouse,
Sentinel sports reporter
Sentinel photo by
Tom Wisniowski, of
Acme, left, took a
female albino black
bear weighing 47
pounds on the first
day of bear season
Monday. Some of the
hunters on opening
day include Richard
Marther, center, of
Erie, and Jeff Gowen,
of Evansburg. Their
kills are displayed
along with a bear
taken by Andrew
Duncan, of Erie.
POTTERS MILLS — Among the early
successes of the 2007 bear
season is one that a
Westmoreland County man will
never forget. Tom
Wisniowski, of Acme, took an
albino black bear. The female
cub weighed in at 47 pounds.
“I couldn’t tell what it was at
first because there was a lot of
snow and fog,” Wisniowski said.
“I honestly thought it was a
coyote, but then it got a little
bit closer and I could tell it
was an unusual bear.”
Unusual? That’s an
understatement. There’s very
little mention of albinos among
bears. One was reportedly taken
in New York State in the early
1900s, and another was killed in
Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 2004.
Wisniowski, Jeff Gowen, of
Evansburg, Richard Marther and
Andrew Duncan, both of Erie, all
killed bear while hunting
together in Centre County
Monday, the first day of the
season. Taken in Spring
Township, Wisniowski’s bear,
even though it was not the
biggest of the four, was the
According to the Pennsylvania
Game Commission’s Regional
Office in Huntingdon, this
year’s bear complaints have been
above the normal amount
reported. “Almost all of
our officers have been working
bear complaints, especially in
Mifflin and Juniata Counties.
The complaints seem to be at an
all-time high because of the
extremely warm weather we’ve
been having all across the
state, which means the bear have
not begun to ‘den up,’ or
hibernate yet this year,” said
Don Garner, a supervisor at the
That problem may have a
solution, and that solution
started Wednesday and Thursday,
when the Pennsylvania Game
Commission opened up a special
season, exclusive to archers,
that allowed a few extra bear to
be taken. “This is only
the second year the special
archery season has been open,
and this year was slightly
better, as far as the harvest
goes, than last year,” said
Stephen Repasky, regional
biologist, while working at the
station at Penn’s Nursery in
This year’s bear license sales
have been phenomenal, totaling
more than 87,000. It is
estimated by the game commission
that 2,025 bears will be taken.
“We’re hoping for a good harvest
this year, the 2,025 bears that
are usually harvested is
normally enough to keep the
population fairly stable,”
The traditional rifle season for
bear began Monday, and while
somewhat successful, it was not
quite what the game commission
was looking for. In the
south-central region of the
state, 79 bears were killed —
that’s almost down to half of
the bear taken in that region
during the first day of the
season in 2006. “We
started off pretty slow, and
then it picked up a little,”
said Regional Biologist Justin
Vreeland. “Pennsylvania has a
very healthy bear population,
but certain parts are becoming
overpopulated and troublesome,
it’s somewhat disappointing to
see a first day harvest like
Among the many successful
hunters and storytellers at the
check stations, was 22-year-old
Marshall Daihl from Willow Hill,
who killed his first bear at
9:30 a.m. in Fannett Township,
Franklin County. “It all
happened so fast, I was sitting
there a while, and the next
thing you know I was standing
beside it,” he said.
Daihl’s female bear weighed in
at 124 pounds.
“This is always a popular event.
Families come from all over the
area to see the bear, it’s
almost always a good time,”
McVeytown residents and hunting
partners John Boozel and Patrick
Briggs smiled as they both
brought bears to check in.
“That bear got shot in the
woods,” said Austin Wagner, of
Altoona, who came to see the
bear on his third birthday.
Austin watched as Boozel and
Briggs weighed in their bears.
Boozel’s bear tipped the scales
at 118 pounds while Briggs’ bear
weighed in at just 40 pounds.
Two of the biggest bear taken on
Monday were taken by Martinsburg
resident Gary Eberle and his
grandson Eric, a Mifflintown
Resident. The two hunters took
the bear while hunting in West
Township, Huntingdon County.
“I’ve been hunting bear every
year since it started in
Pennsylvania, and this is the
first one I’ve ever killed,”
Gary Eberle said. His bear
weighed in at 340 pounds, field
dressed, and his grandson’s bear
was a hefty 290 pounds. “I
was really excited and decided I
wanted to have a shoulder mount
done,” Eric Eberle after
weighing in his trophy. Gary
Eberle used a .270 short magnum
to bring down his bear, while
Eric Eberle used a 30-06 to bag
his big one. The biggest
bear taken on Monday in the
region was taken by Woodberry
resident Jerry Zimmerman while
hunting in Bedford County.
“As soon as I saw it I knew it
was a big bear. Everything
happened really quick,” he said.
“It took me five shots with my
30-06 to take him down,” said
Zimmerman, whose bear weighed in
at a whopping 543 pounds.
“It was definitely a low count
for the first day. We had only
29 bear come through here today,
normally we have over 50. I
think it has to do with the
heavy snow and fog they had in
the mountains this morning, it
was hard to see for the hunters
that went out, and I think quite
a few stayed home,” Repasky
said. “I’d hope to see the
weather and the hunting improve
the next two days, the more bear
taken, the more stable and less
troublesome the Pennsylvania
bear population will be.”
Consumer Alert: "Cancer
Project" Organization Is A Deceptive Animal Rights
Posted On October 31, 2007 -
The Center for Consumer Freedom
Washington -- As health reporters
cover today's report on global causes of cancer from
the American Institute for Cancer Research, the
nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom is urging them
to be skeptical of follow-up pronouncements from a
deceptive animal rights group calling itself "The
Cancer Project." A project of the misnamed
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM),
The Cancer Project is the animal rights movement's
attempt to use cancer to frighten Americans into
PCRM, which controls the Cancer Project, derives
more than two-thirds of its $9 million budget from
Nanci Alexander, the wealthy founder of the Animal
Rights Foundation of Florida. People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals (PETA) has steered an
additional $1.3 million to the organization.
"The Cancer Project, like its parent group, is
basically PETA in a lab coat," said Center for
Consumer Freedom Director of Research David Martosko.
"These save-the-chickens extremists regularly
exaggerate any suggestion, no matter how unproven,
of a link between meat and cancer. It's just what
you'd expect from an animal rights organization
masquerading as a mainstream medical charity."
More troubling, PCRM actually discourages Americans
from contributing to legitimate cancer research
charities -- including the American Cancer Society,
the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research
Foundation, and the American Institute for Cancer
Research -- on the grounds that laboratory rats and
other animals are used in the most promising
"Some activists clearly care more about lab rats
than human cancer victims," Martosko added.
"Reporters and editors should take what they have to
say with a giant grain of salt. If you wouldn't
welcome cancer advice from PETA, you shouldn't
accept it from The Cancer Project."
Black bear season off to big start; some
think it's grisly
15-pound animal shot; opposition
Candus Thomson, Baltimore Sun reporter October 23, 2007,
As a photography major at a Washington
college, Coty Jones is used to taking tough shots.
But yesterday, on the first day of Maryland's black bear
season, Jones shouldered her rifle, steadied her nerves and
brought down a 615-pound bear, breaking the three-year-old
state record by 129 pounds.
On its hind legs, the bear would have barely squeezed
through a doorway, its ears grazing the ceiling. It took
eight men two hours to drag it the length of five football
"He didn't look that big until he got close," said Jones, a
Hoopers Island resident and junior at Corcoran College of
Art and Design. "I just froze." Jones was sitting in a
tree stand in Garrett State Forest, just west of Deep Creek
Lake, with her father, Phillip Jones. Shortly after sunrise,
both saw the bear lumbering from right to left about 80
yards in the distance. "She was shaking, but I was
shaking more," Phillip Jones said. It took Coty Jones
two shots to bring the bear down, and then came the hard
part. "It wasn't straight dragging, it was straight
up," said her father, his hat and shirt still soaked in
Phone calls brought out a small army of volunteers, who
pushed, pulled and shoved the bear onto a platform on the
back of the Joneses' truck. Jones said the bear will
fill the family freezer.
Her bear was one of 36 killed yesterday, the Department of
Natural Resources reported. The hunt will continue today.
With springlike temperatures and under a robin's-egg blue
sky, the start of this year's season was the opposite of the
previous two years, when snow and ice blanketed the region.
And this year also lacked the protesters and anti-hunting
monitoring crews that had been fixtures outside the check
station gate. But that is not to say opposition to the hunt
has abated. Last week, the Humane Society of the United
States took out a full-page ad in The Sun calling on Gov.
Martin O'Malley's administration to stop the hunt. On
Sunday, several dozen protesters - one in a bear suit -
renewed the demand during an Annapolis rally.
The anti-hunting group pressed its case yesterday, releasing
a telephone poll it said indicated that Maryland residents
overwhelmingly oppose bear hunting. The survey of 839
registered voters that ended Sunday shows 61 percent oppose
hunting and 72 percent want DNR to control the bear
population by nonlethal means such as public education, the
use of bear-proof garbage containers and scaring bears with
guns that shoot rubber pellets.
However, 63 percent of those polled in Western Maryland,
where the bulk of the bears live, favor the hunt.
Black bears, native to the state, were hunted to near
extinction when a moratorium was declared after the 1953
season. The population slowly rebounded to the point where
biologists and wildlife managers were able to recommend a
limited, lottery-style hunt. The bear population
numbers 500 and grows 10 percent each year. Hunters and
collisions with motor vehicles kill about 100 annually. This
season, DNR wants to reduce the population by 50-70 bears.
A total of 2,804 hunters, a record number, applied for this
year's hunt. The state issued 220 permits. For Mark
Arbutus and Paul Taylorson, their successful hunt was a
textbook case of supply and demand. Taylorson took out
ads in two local newspapers and an online news site several
weeks ago, seeking land owners vexed by nuisance bears. Of
the half-dozen phone calls he received, one on the
Allegany-Garrett county line seemed ideal.
At 7:20 a.m., Arbutus saw a 145-pound bear ambling toward
his tree stand. He took aim at a 4-foot clearing just ahead
of the bear, but at the last second, it veered away.
Choosing an 18-inch clearing between two trees, Arbutus
again took aim and waited. The bruin walked right into
the single shot. "My heart was about to jump out of my
chest," said Arbutus, 46, an electrical technician for
Constellation Energy. The two hunters - cousins from
Millers Island in Baltimore County - tracked the bear 45
yards and loaded it into their pickup for the ride to the
check-in station at the Mount Nebo Wildlife Management Area,
near Deep Creek Lake.
"That was smart," Arbutus said of his cousin's advertising
campaign. "Next year, I'm sure you'll see a ton of ads."
film, he can appear as a dancing,
friendly and bumbling friend — voice
supplied by Phil Harris — or a bad
comedian whose best friend is a
frog. There was also the time he was
somewhat closer to character, a
dim-witted individual, carrying a
club with a hankering for rabbit
Most people's views,
and concepts, of bears is what they
see in "Baloo," from "Jungle Book,"
"Fozzie," from the "Muppets" or "Br'er
Bear," from "Song of the South."
There is the real, live animal seen
in Gentle Ben, or Grizzly Adams and,
of course, more true-to-life short
features, like "Bear Country" of the
1950s, that introduced many to the
But real bears don't
stand on stage and get a custard pie
thrown in their face. They won't
cuddle up at night under the covers.
And, except those trained for zoo or
circus acts, bears don't dance a jig
or wrestle with the human television
star. "We have them in zoos
and images of them around us," said
Margaret J. King, director of
Cultural Studies & Analysis in
Philadelphia. "We make art objects
out of nature. It's a very primitive
and cultural thing."
King is among those
who have written about what is being
called the "Disney effect" — how
Disney films, whether animated, live
action or "nature documentaries"
have influenced not just filmmaking,
but public attitudes toward animals
and the environment.
Anthromorphism is the clinical term
to describe how humans ascribe
human-like qualities to other
species. "Bears are large game and
competitors," she said of the long
cultural fascination humans have had
with bears. "They also stand on
their rear legs, bipedalism, and
look like us."
Put in the middle of
a New Jersey political fight, bears
are being made into an image by both
sides. Is the elevation of bear to
near-human status, based on true
feelings or political leanings?
People grew up cuddling "Teddy" or
hugging Winnie the Pooh, whose only
bad habit was trying to steal honey,
so "cute" and "timid" are words
easily ascribed to black bears by
those against hunting. They take
pictures of bears eating from a
human's hand or "playing" in a
In the wild, young
animals practice skills they will
need as adults. They chase their
mother's tail; roughhouse with each
other, mocking a "kill" or fight for
a chance to mate. Is it really play
and do they even know what "play"
Pizar, director of the Bear
Education And Resource Group, said
recently that, having won a court
battle over the bear hunt, the next
move would be "to outlaw the killing
of our bears." Then, she said, all
hunting would be next.
On the other side,
some have described bears "waiting
in ambush" as if the individual
animals could read a timetable or
calendar and know that the
garbageman only comes Tuesday
mornings. "It's only a matter of
time until someone gets killed,"
goes the mantra. They point to
self-proclaimed bear "expert"
Timothy Tredwell who studied Alaskan
grizzlies for more than a dozen
years. He was killed and eaten by
naturalists say bears are creatures
whose nature is to find something to
eat. They have a place in the
natural world and it's not on our
cultural pedestal. King, whose
business "decodes how consumers
determine value in products,
concepts and ideas," said the bear's
place in our world "is very
evolutionary" and based on our
cultural background. The ancient
Greeks named two constellations
after bears, Ursa Major and Ursa
Minor. Eskimos revere the polar
bear, but it doesn't stop them from
taking one in a hunt if they can.
Americans also worshiped the bear
and lived beside them. Today,
King said, more than 90 percent of
our day is spend inside, in optimum
conditions that we have created for
ourselves. "We don't like exposure
to nature," she said. "We have
evolved in nature to have as little
to do with Nature as possible. We
have taken nature and stylized it."
"There are a million
misconceptions about bears," said
Gary Alt, a noted wildlife biologist
who ran Pennsylvania's bear
management and deer management plans
until his resignation three years
ago. "People generally fall into two
categories — they want to cuddle
them or kill them."
Alt said the black
bear population across the country
is growing tremendously. In
California where he now lives, the
bear population has doubled to an
estimated 32,000 since 1982.
In New York the bear population is
still expanding and this year the
state is reverting to a previous
policy of opening the bear hunt in
the Catskills on the same day the
deer hunting season begins,
effectively expanding the season by
a week over the past few years.
In the 1990 hunt, 77
bears were taken in the Catskill
area. During the 2005 hunt, there
were nearly 500 bears killed in the
Catskills and last year, the state
said 365 bears were killed.
While some point to those numbers
and note that even with hunting,
bear numbers are increasing — an
argument not to have a hunt — Alt
said a well-managed hunt is not
meant to decrease any population,
but to provide a balance. "If
you really want to drop the
population, you just say, 'Go get 'em!'
Bears are more easy to overhunt than
deer," he said.
In a healthy deer
herd, does can begin to breed at
about six months and have offspring
each year. Bears don't start to
breed until three years of age and
have cubs every two years.
Jamie O'Boyle, senior analyst at
Cultural Studies & Analysis said
that while "both bears ("teddy") and
deer ("Bambi") are big stars in our
cultural Pantheon of
anthropomorphized nature, bears
trump deer because they are more
like us. We can see a clumsy, more
clownish, and therefore harmless,
version of ourselves."
there is an additional element —
perceived rarity. "There is a simple
equation in marketing, perception of
rarity = higher value," he said.
"End result; we instinctively lean
towards encouraging bears but
controlling the deer." Alt
said being the most densely human
populated state, "New Jersey is at
the frontier at human-wildlife
confrontation and what to do about
it." This great experiment, he
said, is tipped in the bears favor
for now, but the balance will swing
quickly towards bear population
control. "When it starts will
just be getting the right bears
doing the wrong things," he said.
"It will require some sort of
injuries. That will be the spark to
set off the gas, then it'll blow.
"New Jersey is ripe and ready for
it," Alt said. "New Jersey will test
the waters as to how far you can
Aggressive bear shot by homeowner had rabies
Michael A. Sawyers
GRANTSVILLE - The aggressive bear that was killed a
week ago by an Amish Road homeowner after the animal
charged and then attempted to pull out a window air
conditioner has tested positive for rabies, a
Garrett County health official said Tuesday.
"We sent the head to our health and mental hygiene
lab in Baltimore on Thursday and got the results
Friday," said Steve Sherrard, director of
environmental health for the county's health
At 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 29, the homeowners had heard a
commotion outside and saw a bear attempting to get
at two penned pygmy goats. When the family hollered
from its main doorway at the bear, it wheeled and
charged the house. "At first it was pushing on
the door and I was holding onto the handle from
inside," said Charlotte Stanton. "Mike was going to
the gun room to get a gun," she said of her husband.
At that point, Charlotte said the bear left the door
and attempted to pull an air-conditioning unit out
of a window.
"I was pulling from inside and the bear was pulling
on it from outside when Mike got there with the
gun," Charlotte added. "There was just enough room
to stick out the gun barrel beside the air
conditioner, but you couldn't aim it. He just stuck
it out there and shot and it flattened the bear."
The No. 4 shotgun pellets struck the bear in the
head and neck, authorities reported. The bear was
eventually put down by a Natural Resources Police
officer who arrived at the home 2.7 miles south of
U.S. Route 40 about 30 minutes after the 911 call
was transferred to state police.
"A little after that we got a call from DNR, who
said, 'We hear you have a bear problem' and I said,
'Not any more we don't.'" Charlotte said the
family consulted with medical staff at Sacred Heart
Hospital and decided that all family members,
including a 15-year-old son and 10-year-old
daughter, would receive post-exposure rabies
vaccinations. "Those things are really
expensive and our insurance doesn't cover them so
I'm waiting to hear back from Senator (George)
Edwards to see if the state will pay for them,"
Charlotte said. Mike contacted the bear when
he helped load it onto a state truck, and the son
helped Charlotte clean up blood from the animal.
Charlotte said that when the bear left the goats and
charged the house, it covered the 35 yards very
quickly. "It's a good thing none of us were in
the yard or you'd have dead people up here," she
said. "We see bears around here a good bit."
Harry Spiker, who heads the bear management program
for the Maryland Wildlife and Heritage Service, said
that neither the police officer nor a wildlife
employee who responded will receive shots.
"Our wildlife staff all have the pre-exposure
vaccine," he said. NRP said the Stantons were
acting in self defense and will not be charged for
shooting the bear. Both Spiker and Sherrard
said the most likely source of the disease would be
a raccoon. "There were some bite marks on the bear's
rump, so that could have come from a raccoon fight
or maybe the bear bit itself after becoming rabid,"
This is the first bear to test positive for rabies
in Maryland. About a half-dozen have been tested
over the years, according to Spiker. During recent
years, rabid bears have been confirmed in Alberta,
Canada, and Pennsylvania. In the Pennsylvania
incident, it was discovered that the sow bear had
actually devoured her own cubs, according to Spiker.
Although the Amish Road bear was lactating, there
was no evidence that cubs were nearby. The carcass
of the 134-pound sow was buried without necropsy.
Spiker said rabies cannot be transmitted by way of
the animal's breast milk. The cubs would now weigh
20 to 40 pounds, Spiker said. He estimated that the
sow was 3 to 5 years old. Sherrard said the
number of positive rabies tests are down some in the
county this year. Of 30 animals sent for
testing, four have been diseased: one bat, two
raccoons and the bear. The animals tested also
included dogs, cats, possums, skunks and a fox.
Nguyen, Vancouver Sun Published: Monday, July
Members of the RCMP are investigating what appears to be the province's
latest bear attack after the body of a 34-year-old woman was found near
Invermere Sunday. The woman had set off Saturday on the mountain biking
trails at Panorama Mountain Village resort, about 19 kilometres west of
Invermere in southeastern B.C. She was reported missing at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday. A search and rescue team found her near the Panorama Mountain Bike
Park around 5:30 a.m. Sunday, Sarah Harrison with the Ministry of
Environment said. A black bear was found hovering over the woman's body.
"They located her with the bear guarding the body at the time. The bear was
alive and the body wasn't," she said.
Harrison said the bear was shot and killed by an RCMP officer, before the
province's conservation officers arrived at the scene. It's
unclear if the bear, estimated to be about 54 kilograms (120 pounds), had in
fact fatally attacked the woman. "They don't know whether the bear was
the cause or whether it was just there," said Mark Woodburn, vice-president
of Panorama Mountain Village. The ministry is investigating the
incident and an autopsy will be done on the bear to determine if it had
killed the woman. An autopsy will also be done on the woman. The
mountain operations were closed Sunday as RCMP and conservation officers
investigated the incident.
"We're all shocked and saddened; something like this has never happened
before," said Eric Whittle, Panorama's director of sales and marketing.
During the summer, the mountain is a popular spot for mountain bikers who
can ride up chair lifts and ride down steep trails with varying degrees of
Another incident involving mountain bikers and bears occurred on the
weekend, when a couple in Banff found themselves face-to-face with a
grizzly bear who was protecting her young.
The young Jasper couple were on the Lake Minnewanka Trail around 8:15 p.m.
Saturday when they came upon two grizzly cubs. The grizzly sow charged
at the 22-year-old woman and the 32-year-old man from behind, forcing the
two to jump off their bikes and make a run for it. The two ran down to
the lake, stumbling and falling on rocks as the bear huffed very close to
the man. The sow and cubs then left the area. Both were taken to
hospital with minor cuts and scrapes. A Clinton man was also
lucky last week after surviving a bear attack during a morning bike ride
July 16. Roy Klopp, 56, encountered the unusually aggressive
bear around 11 a.m. on one of the walking trails above Clinton near the
Cariboo Highway in the Kamloops-Thompson region. The 90-kilogram bear
tried to attack Klopp, a sawmill worker, while his two dogs attempted to
fend it off. He escaped with minor injuries only after the young
bear bit him in the behind.
Murray of Bear Matters BC said such incidents can be prevented if cyclists
take some precautions. "People have to be bear aware in the woods,"
she said. "Look for bear scat on the trail, look for animal carcasses or a
big berry bush. You have to be very alert and listen to cracking branches."
Murray said often, bears attack because they're scared by cyclists.
"Usually most bears aren't dangerous. They get surprised and try to do
something, especially when they have cubs. But it only takes one swat from a
bear to really kill a person," she said. Earlier this month, two
forestry workers also encountered a bear near Invermere. The July 4
attack happened near Akinkoom Creek, 50 kilometres east of Canal Flats,
between Cranbrook and Invermere. The bear had grabbed a male
forestry worker's arm in its jaws while he tried to get away by hiding
underneath a dead tree. The bear then sank his teeth into the
man's thigh as it tried to pull him back out. He was able to kick the
bear in the nose as his female co-worker fired at it with bear spray.
The man was flown to Cranbrook hospital and treated for bites and gashes on
his leg and arm.
Ex-Marine Kills Bear With Log
By Associated Press June 21, 2007, 6:06 PM EDT
HELEN, Ga. -- A camping trip to Low Gap Camp Grounds turned into a
harrowing experience for Chris Everhart and his three sons when they
tangled with a 300-pound black bear. But the encounter last
weekend proved fatal for the bear. The bear had taken the
Everharts' cooler and was heading back to the woods when 6-year-old
Logan hurled a shovel at it. Fearing what might happen next,
the Norcross father and ex-Marine grabbed the closest thing he could
find -- a log.
"(I) threw it at it and it happened to hit the bear in the head,"
Chris Everhart said. "I thought it just knocked it out but it
actually ended up killing the bear." The man was given a
ticket for failing to secure his camp site, said Ken Riddleberger, a
region supervisor for game management with the Georgia Department of
Natural Resources. Riddleberger said some U.S. Forest Service
agents were at the camp issuing a citation in an unrelated case.
They got to the scene in a few minutes and verified what happened,
Riddleberger said fines are usually set by counties, but Everhart's
will be set by the federal government since the incident happened on
federal property. "We've not had an attack in Georgia," he
said. "The key thing to learn from this is if there's a bear around,
do not have your garbage or food available. If we manage our food,
we won't have bears around."
Experts find no odd factors in bear attack
By Joe Bauman and Bob Bernick Jr.
Deseret Morning News June 20, 2007
Wildlife experts on Tuesday were finding no unusual stress factors
that might have prompted a large black bear to attack and kill
11-year-old Samuel Evan Ives in American Fork Canyon. But
simple proximity of humans and bears seems to guarantee that more
conflicts are inevitable, said the director of the Utah Division of
Wildlife Resources. Jim Karpowitz added that Sunday night's
"horrible, tragic bear attack" could be just the start of bear
problems this summer. "Bears are all around us" on the Wasatch
Front, he said. "They are on our doorsteps" because of the proximity
of homes to forested mountains. "There are more bears around
these days, more people camping," he said.
Karpowitz predicted interactions between humans and bears will
increase. Bear problems have already occurred in northern and
northeastern Utah this year, he added. "We are working very
hard, under our bear policy, to deal with those right now," he said.
The boy's family, residents of Pleasant Grove, camped a short
distance north of Timpanooke campgrounds in the Uinta National
Forest. Late Sunday night the bear ripped through the tent where
Samuel was sleeping and pulled him outside while the boy was in his
sleeping bag. Awakened by his screams, the family tried to find him
but could not.
hours later searchers discovered Samuel's body about 400 yards from
the tent site. Trackers with dogs killed the bear, estimated at
between 300 and 350 pounds, about 11:30 a.m. Monday. A
necropsy (animal autopsy) at a state laboratory based at Utah State
University confirmed it was the same bear. Hal Black,
professor of wildlife biology at Brigham Young University, said the
bear's weight probably was about 300 pounds, "which is an early
summer bear." He talked with a friend who helped track the bear and
load its carcass.
After gorging all summer, a large
adult black bear could weigh 400 pounds before it
hibernates, Black added. This animal looked
like a healthy, mature male bear. It did not seem
emaciated, the friend said. Bears are
omnivorous, eating nearly any potential food they
come across from fish to grass, ants, mice and deer.
At the elevation where the attack occurred, possibly
around 9,000 feet, fresh forbs and grasses were
available for the bear to eat. "To think that
he was starving is probably nonsense," Black said.
"He looked healthy." The bear's age was
probably 6 to 9 years, based on size and the fact
that the canine teeth were not yet ground down, he
said. This time of year, bears tear open logs
and stumps and eat insects inside, like ants. Also,
"They're eating wasp's nests, which seems like a
tough way to make a living," Black said.
Male bears cover more ground than
usual around this time, searching for female bears.
Possibly its travels brought it to the campground.
"It could have been his first time in a campground
or he could have been experienced," Black added.
Bears can smell food from a mile or two away,
according to Black. "I don't know what
happened at the campsite. But this is not an unusual
thing, for a bear to be smelling a human on the
other side of the tent," he said. The night
before the attack, a bear ripped the tent of a
camper in the same vicinity. "If you're a
300-pound animal and you've got nice long claws, and
you lean up against a canvas tent," Black said, "you
might fall through it." While an investigation
will tell whether the bear was diseased, Black
expects it was "a healthy animal. It was out
Barrie K. Gilbert, a noted bear
researcher formerly based at USU, said he thinks the
deadly attack was "truly an anomaly." "It
means people should be careful around bears because
they're big and they're dangerous," said Gilbert,
who is retired and was contacted in eastern Ontario,
Gilbert said many black bears become
food-conditioned through interactions with people.
They may become assertive and shove humans away from
food, as they do with other bears. He believes
bears that are least familiar with humans are likely
to be most assertive. "They don't recognize humans
as much of a threat," he said. But where bears are
hunted, the survivors tend to avoid people more.
Attacks by black bears are so rare
in Utah, Colorado, Idaho and Nevada that people
should not be afraid to camp outdoors, he added.
One possibility, Gilbert said, is that the bear
might have heard something inside the tent that
"sounded like a mouse," and pounced. Still,
large male bears can tend to become single-minded,
aggressive and nasty, Gilbert said. "They
almost get cunning," he said.
Sometimes powerful males get used to "beating up
just anything out there, and they'll run down
anything and eat it," Gilbert added. He
praised state officials for killing this one, saying
that after an animal kills a human, it "won't back
off" and will seek out others. Housing
developments did not play a role in the attack, said
Kevin Bunnell, DWR mammals program coordinator.
"There aren't summer homes or anything like that
near the area," he said.
But for outdoors activities,
American Fork Canyon is a high-use area with lots of
visitors, he said.
Did the bear attack because it had run out of
natural food? "No, right now at that
elevation, things are still lush and green," Bunnell
said. "They're kind of limited to eating grass,
which they can do just fine on. ... But there's not
a lot of variety out there right now. Berries and
nuts and acorns and things haven't come on yet."
Neither is the area suffering from drought at this
time of year. "You want to make sure that you
cook away from where you're sleeping," he said. "And
then change clothes. You don't want to sleep in the
same clothes you're cooking in," because bears might
smell the food and go after it. Also, visitors
should have good hygiene, as bears can smell body
odor. "Their noses are really what they use to
investigate the world around them," he said.
"They're like a dog." Bunnell said smells that
don't indicate food still might prompt a bear to
investigate out of curiosity.
Mont. — Let's do some math.
hundred pounds vs. 55 pounds. Four feet tall at the shoulder vs. 2
feet tall. Three-inch claws vs., well, nubs. Bear vs. bear
dog. Who wins? Ideally, when Carrie Hunt's Karelian bear
dogs encounter a grizzly bear, both do.
Hunt uses Karelians —
medium-size black-and-white dogs used in Finland and Russia to hunt
bears and moose — to herd grizzly and black bears away from campgrounds,
ranches and other places in the northern Rockies where the bears might
come into contact with people. Such encounters could be disastrous for
both. "Sadly, even if it's not a bad encounter, we have to
put these poor bears down because some boo-boohead won't clean up his
place," said James Jonkel, who heads the state of Montana's Living With
Black Bears, Grizzly Bears and Lions Project.
Grizzlies are a fact of life
in parts of Montana, where the carnivorous species lends its name to all
manner of businesses and events, from Grizzly Wireless to the Grizzly
Marathon along the Rocky Mountain Front. ("The prospects of being able
to safely view grizzlies along the course are good. …The course will be
well-monitored for runners' safety," according to the promotional
material announcing the event.) Grizzlies have preyed for years
upon the farms and ranches bordering their territory, snagging the
occasional chicken or sheep before melting back into the mountains. Now,
the breathtaking scenery increasingly attracts wealthy owners of second
homes and others from places where people live in houses and bears in
Few are prepared to discover
a grizzly emptying the contents of their backyard bird feeder, or even
lumbering onto their front porch. The latter happened, repeatedly, to
Deborah Kaufman when she moved 13 years ago to the remote community of
Polebridge, 22 unpaved miles from the Canadian border, to run a general
store and bakery. "My son was 9 months old," she said. "It was a
whole different way to live to know that wolves, bears, mountain lions,
everything, were here and that there could be an encounter. I just
didn't really want them in my yard with my baby."
Enter Hunt, a biologist who
had become discouraged by the bear-management maxim: A fed bear is a
dead bear. Her Partners-in-Life program at the non-profit Wind
River Bear Institute here aims to convince bears that people places are
just not worth the aggravation. Take the sow grizzly and half-grown cub
that haunted two backcountry campgrounds in Glacier National Park last
summer. "They were not showing normal bear behavior. They
were not wary of people, and were coming in close," said Matt Graves, a
supervisory interpreter at the park.
The park shut the
campgrounds, and called in Hunt's dogs. Every time the bears came
around, the Karelians got in their faces, barking maniacally. Hunt and
her assistants provided backup, shooting rubber bullets at the bears,
tossing loud "crackers" in their direction, and shouting, "Get out of
here, bear!" As soon as the bears ran back into the brush,
the dogs and the noise stopped. The idea, said Hunt, was to punish bears
for approaching, and reward them for running away. The two
campgrounds recently reopened, so far with no bear problems, Graves
said. "Bold," Hunt calls her dogs. And, upon encountering a bear,
Around people, the dogs are
friendly and inquisitive, leaning up against strangers and licking their
hands. That curiosity plays into their work with bears, said Russ Talmo,
the Wind River Bear Institute's program biologist. Karelian
puppies chosen for bear training are the ones "that won't turn their
backs on a spooky situation," he said. The young dogs go through
increasingly challenging situations, he said, including an encounter
with "a big ol' bear carcass with big smells and loud sounds, so that it
Young dogs are paired with
experienced ones when they finally confront live bears in the Kananaskis
region of Alberta, through an arrangement with Canadian government and
private agencies. Hunt takes her dogs there for final training.
The dogs never touch a bear — they work as a group on long leashes — but
intimidate it by barking so loudly and so relentlessly and from so many
directions that it's impossible for the bear to, say, relax and enjoy
the contents of that cooler it was eyeballing.
"I'm quick to say that I'm no
Timothy Treadwell," said Hunt, referring to the bear enthusiast whose
gruesome death was featured in the 2005 documentary Grizzly Man. "This is not
about reaching out and touching bears. This is tough love." The
results speak for themselves, she said. "We've never had a dog
injured, a bear injured, or a person injured in 12 years," she said.
Such effectiveness doesn't come cheap. Hunt sells bear-trained dogs for
$2,300. Her team's presence in an area with a problem bear runs between
$500 and $900 a day. Nevertheless, bear season is short, and Hunt
said her program is partly supported by donations.
Kaufman, the bakery owner,
bought one of Hunt's first Karelians years ago, the result being that —
despite the beguiling aroma of pastries wafting from the Polebridge
Mercantile — the bears keep their distance. "They did break into
the store down the road, and into some other people's property, but I
think Zosia (her Karelian) is just too much of a pain in the butt," she
said. Hunt and others who work with bears view the trained dogs as
just another tool for dealing with humans who stubbornly refuse to train
themselves to use common sense in bear country. "The running joke
is that bears and wildlife are easy to manage," Talmo said. "It's the
people that are hard."
hunt closer to people's
Andrea Stone, USA TODAY May 31, 2007
Spring brings hungry bears out
of hibernation, and last fall's poor acorn crop
and a late freeze at Easter has sent the animals
farther afield in search of food. That has
prompted officials to warn people living or
camping in bear country to take measures to
supplies may be behind several recent incidents:
N.C., officials cleared an elementary school
playground Tuesday and called parents to pick up
their children after a bear was sighted in the area.
•Two dogs were
killed and a third injured in Asheville, N.C., this
month by bears lured into backyards by bird feed and
garbage. "We do have incidents every year" of bear
attacks on dogs, says Mike Carraway, a biologist
with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources
Commission. "Three is a bit more than we have
normally." He says there are about 5,000 bears in
North Carolina, most in the western part of the
Tenn., police cornered and tranquilized a 130-pound
black bear in an alley near the downtown
entertainment district Monday night. Allen Ricks of
the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency says it is
"not particularly common" for bears to wander into
downtown Knoxville, 25 miles from their usual haunt
in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
also have been reported in the West. In New Mexico
this month, a bear briefly chased a hiker in the
Sandia Mountains near Albuquerque and another one
triggered the automatic doors at a clinic in
suburban Rio Rancho. Last weekend, a 325-pound bear
trying to cross Interstate 90 in Snoqualmie, Wash.,
was killed by a car.
bears are common at this time of year, but early
signs indicate that more are venturing closer to
In Tennessee, a
later hunting season has probably pushed the bear
population to a 100-year high, Ricks says. Most
bears live on public lands, but as urban development
spreads nearby, more people meet up with bears.
Ricks says his
agency received 89 complaints this month about
hungry bears raiding garbage cans, pet food
containers and birdfeeders. That's down from 115
calls in May 2006, but he expects more calls about
marauding bears this summer.
advise people to store food and garbage in
bear-proof containers. They should empty birdfeeders
and keep pet food dishes indoors. Bears should never
be fed, Ricks says. "Don't do anything to encourage
them to hang around."
The Associated Press
Shampoo and dye
Russian River bears
Idea is to accurately identify those that intimidate people
By BRANDON LOOMIS
Anchorage Daily News (Published: May 20, 2007)
SOLDOTNA -- There'll be some changes in how bears and humans
see each other along the Russian River this summer, starting with the bears'
hair. As part of an interagency effort to pacify a danger zone where
hundreds of anglers daily mingle with bears expecting to dine on human
leftovers, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game plans to make over several
grizzlies in bright shades of drugstore hair dye. The idea behind yellow,
green, orange or blue bears is to make them instantly recognizable to anyone
who reports an encounter, area wildlife biologist Jeff Selinger said.
For public safety reasons, biologists have decided they need
to kill bears that repeatedly intimidate people, he said, and making it easy
for people to know exactly which bear they encounter may avoid any wrongful
executions. He and other biologists plan to tranquilize several bears
that frequent the area, give them a shampoo, bleach the hair around their
heads, shoulders and hindquarters, and then apply dye. "This is their
only chance at surviving," Selinger said. It's a tactic that he
predicted would draw scorn from wildlife watchers, though he says the state
agency is "not trying to embarrass these bears.''
Soldotna-based wildlife photographer John Toppenberg,
director of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, groaned when he heard of the plan.
"Who wants to take a picture of a clown bear?" Toppenberg has
photographed bears on the Russian but acknowledged it's not the best place
to encourage bear-gazing, given the thousands of anglers who congregate
there when the salmon are running. Still, he said, people come seeking wild
Alaska, and for them, a punk-rock bear will spoil the memory and the digital
DYING TO LIVE
The dye jobs are just one part of an aggressive new approach
state and federal agencies hope will minimize potential conflicts between
bears and humans along the Russian. They also want to reduce the food
attraction for bears there while training people to be more bear-aware.
To help with the former, the state will install up to 10
hand-cranked carcass grinders on midstream platforms so anglers can return
the nutrients in heads, bones and guts to the river without risking a pileup
of bear-attracting carcasses. With the carcass dumps gone, officials
believe that over time the bears will stop viewing people as their providers
and wander off to return to natural foraging grounds.
The U.S. Forest Service will enlist two seasonal protection
officers to patrol the river and teach anglers about bear safety while
ticketing those who move beyond arm's reach of their lunches or fish
stringers. Some bears have begun to learn backpacks and stringers also
provide easy pickings if they can simply shoo away the two-legged owners.
"Having a presence on the river is important," said Bobbi Jo
Skibo, a Chugach National Forest employee coordinating the Russian River
bear strategy for her agency, the state, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
and the Kenaitze Indian Tribe. "This is definitely a step up from what
we've ever had," Skibo said.
Bears and crowds -- never a good mix -- have created tense
moments in and around the confluences of the Kenai and Russian rivers in
recent years. Many anglers bring guns, and last year one who felt threatened
shot a bear. In 2003, Girdwood resident Daniel Bigley barely escaped
with his life after a bear bit him in the face. He was left blind and
spent more than a year recovering from his injuries. Mainly, though,
it has been people killing or injuring bears and not the other way around.
Selinger said he has come to expect a bear-shooting every
summer, often killing a mother raising her cubs. "Then you have orphaned
cubs who only know one place to make a living,'' he said. "They hang out
there and get shot or hit by cars." The agencies hope their
intensified efforts will gradually transform the Russian from an attractive
food stop for bears passing through to just another stretch of water full of
salmon hard for a bear to catch.
The Russian River's top angling spots aren't naturally good
spots for bears to fish, Selinger said. They're broad, generally shallow and
have few places where fish are funneled into pools or riffles. Bears should
move on if the carcasses and sack lunches dry up on them. "The idea is to
break the cycle," Selinger said.
That part sounds good to Cooper Landing fly shop owner and
guide Billy Coulliette of Alaska Troutfitters, although he worries forcing
the bears to go cold turkey might provoke them into approaching more anglers
in an effort to steal fish. Still, he figures the grinders are worth a try.
"It's not a bad idea, rather than having big piles of carcasses," he said.
"You get 20, 30, 40 carcasses piled up below these cleaning tables and it's
definitely easy food for them." Coulliette is also pleased the Forest
Service will add patrols, especially when so many anglers have started
packing weapons. "There's a lot more paranoia going on than
traditionally there has been,'' he said. "Seeing those officers down there
on a daily basis will ease those fears."
The bear dying, though, is "kind of ridiculous,"
Coulliette said. "It just makes the area look more like a circus show.
It's already pretty crazy as it is, and now you've got bears running
around that are purple. It's turning that river -- an awesome Alaskan
experience -- into more of a theme park." Coulliette said he
understands the need to carefully monitor the bears, but believes
something less intrusive might be in order. Biologists counter that
they've tried using ear tags or collars in the past, but people often
prove unable to identify the bears. After a traumatic bear encounter,
humans usually don't even know if the bear had an ear tag, let alone
what color, said state bear researcher Sean Farley. "(But) people
are coming up here to see natural beauty," Coulliette said.
"Spray-painting them is kind of a disgrace to the animal when it's not
his fault. Unfortunately there's hundreds and hundreds of intruders in
his natural home."
HEY, BABY, GREAT
Toppenberg said he worries coloring the bears may alter
their natural behavior. "Would your interaction with your
wife change if you dressed up like a clown?" he said. "Who knows? Maybe
it would help." A bear researcher from Utah State University
said bold markings are not unprecedented, and they don't seem to affect
bear behavior. Scientist Barrie Gilbert said researchers tracking Canada
polar bears have tagged them with large black splotches with no
noticeable effects. "Polar bears aren't nearly as gregarious as
brown bears are on (salmon) streams, but I think most of the
communication in brown bears is in the faces, the snarling and
growling," he said.
Gilbert has spent more than a quarter century studying
grizzlies, and was himself badly
mauled in Yellowstone National Park. He went on to study bears in
Alaska's Katmai National Park during the late 1980s. He believes the
state's plan for weaning the Russian River bears sounds plausible.
as salmon runs are healthy, he said, bears will find plenty of food on
their own. If anglers can clean up their surroundings, the bears will
learn new habits over time. He cautioned against expecting a rapid
transition, though, because bears are opportunistic feeders who come
back to check on a food supply's availability for years after it's gone.
Likewise, he counseled against undue fear of curious
bears who start getting hungry when their food disappears. Unlike the
bear that jumped him when he inadvertently surprised it on a
mountaintop, he said, human-habituated bears tend to be calm.
"They don't get fed by people directly or punished by people directly,
so they tend to tune us out," he said. "If people don't freak out and
drop the fish," the bears should move on, he said. Selinger
said it's time to try to teach the bears a new routine, and to identify
any real problem bears, before someone is hurt or killed. "The
situation now is not good," he said.
PAUL JOHNSON/THE LEDGER Medical Examiner Stephen
Nelson examines a 95-pound Florida black bear before
performing a necropsy on the animal this week in
Lakeland. The bear had been shot in November in
something you haven't seen on the TV show CSI. Polk
County Medical Examiner Stephen Nelson cuts open a 95-pound
black bear to determine where in the head it was shot.
'I've worked on dogs and cats in cruelty cases,' Nelson
said. 'This is my first black bear.'
The State Attorney's Office in Highlands County asked Nelson
to conduct the necropsy to determine the path of the bullet
and where the shooter may have been standing when the shot
Norman Hatch, 64, admits shooting the bear. The sticky part
for Hatch is the reason why.
He says he shot the animal after it threatened his
18-year-old stepdaughter. State wildlife officials
don't believe his story. They accuse Hatch of gunning down
the bear as it dug through trash outside his Highlands
County home on Nov. 6. Hatch is charged with killing a
threatened species, a third-degree felony, and faces up to
five years in prison and a $5,000 fine if he's found guilty.
A trial is expected to begin in May.
It has been illegal to shoot bears in Florida since 1994
unless in self defense, said Gary Morse, a Florida Fish and
Wildlife spokesman. No bear attacks on humans have ever been
reported in Florida, Morse said.
Nelson points to the spot on an X-ray that shows the
location of the bullet.
bears in Florida are Florida black bears, one of three bear
species in the Southeast, according to the Fish and Wildlife
Web site. Black bears have rounded ears, short tails, 5-toed
feet and large teeth. Adult males in Florida normally weigh
between 250 and 450 pounds.
Nelson and his two assistants seemed fascinated earlier this
week as they examined the animal spread out on its stomach
on a rolling metal table.
Alex Morales, an autopsy technician, used a razor to cut
away fur on the bear's head so Nelson could see the bullet's
entry point and examine the wound more closely. The bloody
bullet was later removed, and it was determined that it came
from a .44-magnum handgun. Nelson should issue his findings
in a couple of weeks.
Joe Price, an investigator with the Highlands County State
Attorney's Office, took numerous pictures of the animal for
his investigation. The State Attorney's Office in
Highlands County asked Nelson to assist rather than a
veterinarian because of the issues involving the range and
direction of the bullet that struck the bear. Price
speculated that investigators also turned to Nelson because
of their good relationship with him.
Except for the thick fur, big paws and sharp teeth, the work
wasn't that different from an autopsy on a human, Nelson
said. 'I usually don't get a chance to examine animals who
aren't human,' he said. 'I'd probably be a vet if I did it
over again.' The bear, a male about 1 year old, was
frozen before it was delivered to the Medical Examiner's
Office near Winter Haven last week. The necropsy was
expected to be
Friday, but it took longer than expected for the bear to
An initial necropsy determined that a bullet entered the
side of the bear's head near its left ear, shattered the
rear skull and exited below the right ear. Test results
determined the bear was not rabid.
The bear was no stranger to Hatch's home, according to a
Hatch reached the Fish and Wildlife Commission by telephone
about 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 6 to report that a bear was in the
vicinity of his Lake Placid home, as it had been off and on
for about three months. A Fish and Wildlife official said
she could not offer immediate help.
Nelson holds the .44-caliber bullet that killed the
male bear, one of a threatened species.
Agitated, Hatch asked what he should he should do if a
situation arose requiring him to defend himself or his
family from the bear. The official told him to leave the
bear alone and to be patient until the following Monday, so
she could contact a biologist.
An hour later, the bear was dead. Hatch told Fish and
Wildlife officials that his stepdaughter, Stephanie Warfle,
18, had been attacked by the bear, but was not injured.
Later, Warfle told investigators that she was on the back
porch when the bear growled and moved toward her.
Hatch said the bear was in his backyard, about 20 to 30 feet
away from his back door, when he shot it. His wife,
Robin Hatch, told investigators the bear rummaged through
trash in their yard before it was killed. She told
investigators she yelled at the bear, but it continued to
dig through the trash. Hatch declined comment. His
lawyer, Richard Pipkin of Sebring, did not return a phone
message. It wasn't the first time a bear had bothered
the Hatch family. In 2001, a bear was rummaging
through Hatch's garbage when his dog ran outside to confront
the bear. The bear struck the dog, which received minor
injuries. Afterward, Fish and Wildlife officials met with
Hatch and told him to keep his trash in the house until the
day of pick-up.
DEP spares bears from death to
plan likely to revive controversy as animals being leaving
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
BY BRIAN T. MURRAY
New Jersey is back in the bear relocation
business. A little more than a year after deciding to kill
bears that wander into urban areas, the N.J. Department of
Environmental Protection has decided to give them a break.
With only a month or two remaining before most bears leave their
winter dens and start wandering, this pretty much guarantees
spring will be a busy time for state biologists.
It also will rekindle statewide controversy
about the bears, whose growing population has been causing
bear-human encounters for at least six years. New Jersey
biologists believe another 600 cubs have been born inside dens
in just the last month. Already unhappy rumblings are
coming from Morris County. A 211-pound male black bear that
wandered into a Maplewood yard on Sunday was tranquilized and
transported to the Roxbury Township section of the Berkshire
Valley Wildlife Management Area.
"If they asked us, I'm sure we would have said
no. But they don't ask us, and if the state wants to put it on
state land like Berkshire Valley, I'm not sure what we can do,"
said Martin Schmidt, a Roxbury councilman and former mayor.
In 2005 the state created a new black bear
management policy, which called for hunts in some areas and a
"no-tolerance" rules for others. That meant bears that wound up
in places like Short Hills, Newark and Trenton -- and some did
-- would be killed if authorities could not "coax" them to
leave. But the hunt and the no-tolerance zone disappeared
in November 2006, when DEP Commissioner Lisa Jackson said more
nonlethal bear management methods needed further study.
Relocating bears can be as controversial in New Jersey as
Towns from South Jersey to Sussex County hosting
land owned by the state Department of Environmental Protection
have for years complained about being the relocation spot for
bears pulled from urban areas. For a short time, the DEP
took so much flak it refused to say exactly where it was
relocating problem bears. Now that Jackson has nixed the
policy of destroying urban bears, the agency will almost
certainly face renewed complaints from towns forced to host
"It's just going to start all over again. It's
only February, and we already have bears running around. We're
back to where we started," said Liz Thompson, spokeswoman for
the New Jersey Farm Bureau. "This little guy from Maplewood is
just going to become someone else's problem. Relocating them
just relocates the problem."
The farm bureau wants a hunt, and opposes
relocation. The state's no-tolerance zone, known as Zone
7, covered the northeast, the Jersey Shore, the center of the
state and the southern Delaware River coast. Last year, several
bears found in those areas were killed.
DEP spokeswoman Elaine Makatura said Jackson has
directed her agency to increase its outreach to the local
communities regarding the state's bear problems, and relocation
will be addressed. "The recipient areas should also
understand that the bears will normally stay in their natural
habitat and not become a problem," she said.
Jackson vowed to secure an additional $1 million
to improve the state's response to bears this year. Relocating a
bear costs the state more than $1,000. "It certainly is
better for the Berkshire Valley area to have a bear placed there
rather than 1,000 new condominium units, which are planned just
south of there in Rockaway Township," said Jeff Tittel of the
The Sierra Club opposed a hunt and the
no-tolerance policy, contending the state must first preserve
bear habitat before trimming the bear population. No
statewide bear estimate has been released by the state, but
biologists said early last year they found 1,606 bears, or
nearly three bears per square mile, in a 580-square-mile study
area spanning Sussex and Passaic counties.
State biologists have responded to several bear
complaints since January, although most bruins remain in winter
dens until March. Bears are not true hibernators and will emerge
from their dens if they can find food. The state has held
two bear hunts, the first in over 30 years in December 2003 and
the last one in December 2005, killing more than 600 bears.
After the last hunt, biologists reported 1,624 bear complaints
for 2006, compared to 1,841 in 2005.
Sportsmen File in Court to
Ensure ESA Not Manipulated to Ban Hunting
- (12/15/06) Florida
The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation has filed written
arguments in a federal lawsuit brought by anti’s to challenge
the endangered status of black bears in Florida and keep them
off-limits to hunters. The anti’s want to use the Endangered
Species Act as a tool to ban hunting nationwide.
On Dec. 7, the U.S.
Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund, the legal arm of the U.S.
Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation, filed arguments with Judge
Henry Kennedy, Jr. defending the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
decision to not list the Florida black bear as threatened or
endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Extensive
research by federal wildlife officials has shown that the
listing is not warranted. Studies reveal that healthy bear
populations occur in secure habitats in several areas.
Anti’s have tried for
years to list Florida’s bears under the ESA. In this case, the
Humane Society of the United States, Defenders of Wildlife,
Sierra Club, and other anti-hunting groups brought suit
contending that the black bear in Florida is a separate
sub-species of the North American black bear. The groups argue
that the distinction entitles Florida bears to protection under
the ESA. They want to establish a precedent that allows the
challenge of the endangered or threatened status of any
game animal that has numerous sub-species.
The U.S. Sportsmen’s
Alliance Foundation has asked Judge Kennedy to forgo a trial and
decide the case based solely on written arguments.
The USSAF is joined in the
suit by the Central Florida Bear Hunters Assn., Safari Club
International and Mark Roden of St. Augustine.
BEAR HUNTERS POST IMPRESSIVE HARVEST
First-ever archery bear hunt results in a
harvest of 73
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Game
Commission bear check stations recorded a preliminary harvest of
2,553 bears during the recently completed three-day season, and an
additional 73 bears during the state's first-ever, two-day archery
The three-day season, held Nov. 20-22, preliminarily ranks as the
eighth highest statewide harvest. When adding the archery take, the
total preliminary harvest of 2,626 moves up to seventh place.
However, Mark Ternent, Game Commission bear biologist, noted that
with the extended bear season in certain Wildlife Management Units (WMUs)
running from Nov. 27 through Dec. 2, the total preliminary harvest
is likely to approach 3,000, which would put this year's combined
bear harvest in line with the previous five years' harvests.
"While this year's bear harvest, so far, pales in comparison to last
year's season, hunters still are on course to register a impressive
harvest," Ternent said. "So far, this looks to be a typical season
for bear hunters."
Last year, hunters set a record harvest of 3,331 bears during the
three-day season and, by the end of the extended season, had pushed
the record to 4,164. The combination of record license sales, high
bear population estimates, abundant fall foods and favorable weather
conditions aided in reaching that mark. Preliminary total bear
harvest figures - two-day archery, three-day statewide and six-day
extended - are expected by Dec. 6, but official total bear harvest
figures for all three seasons won't be available until early 2007.
A printing error in the 2006-2007 Pennsylvania Hunting and Trapping
Digest incorrectly lists on a detachable pull-out card found between
pages 28 and 29 that the extended bear season (Nov. 27-Dec. 2) is
open in WMU 4C. The extended bear season is not open in WMU 4C.
Bear licenses had to have been purchased prior to the start of the
two-week rifle deer season on Nov. 27.
The top ten bears processed at check stations for the three-day bear
season all had estimated live weights that exceeded 600 pounds. The
largest was a 693-pound male taken by John D. Eppinette of
Adamstown, in West Branch Township, Potter County, at 3:30 p.m. on
Other large bears taken during the three-day season were: a
677-pound male taken by Donald L. Stear of Sagamore, in South
Mahoning Township, Indiana County, at 7:15 a.m. on Nov. 20; a
661-pound male taken by Samuel I. Fisher of Loysville, in Southwest
Madison Township, Perry County, at 8:49 a.m. on Nov. 20; a 649-pound
male taken by Leon L. Bonczewski of Glen Lyon, in Newport Township,
Luzerne County, at 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 20; a 622-pound male taken by
Rick A. Warfel of Lancaster, in Cummings Township, Lycoming County,
at 8 a.m. on Nov. 20; a 621-pound male by Steven J. Craig of
Montgomery, in Shrewsbury Township, Lycoming County, 9:30 a.m. on
Nov. 20; a 621-pound male taken by Jonathan E. Kio of Ulysses, in
Allegany Township, Potter County, 3:15 p.m. on Nov. 20; a 607-pound
male taken by Terry S. Brungart Jr. of Rebersburg, in Greene
Township, Clinton County, 9:15 a.m. on Nov. 20; a 604-pound male
taken by J.E. Allgyer of Kinzers, in Burnside Township, Centre
County, at 7:12 a.m. on Nov. 20; and a 601-pound male taken by
Andrew M. Miller of Mill Hall, in Greene Township, Clinton County,
at 7:10 a.m. on Nov. 20.
The top five bear harvest counties in the state's three-day season
continue to hail from the Northcentral Region. The leading county
was Clinton with 213, followed by Lycoming, 196; Potter, 180; Tioga,
142; and Clearfield, 130.
County harvests by region for the three-day season, followed by the
three-day 2005 preliminary harvests in parentheses, are:
The largest bear harvested during the two-day archery season was a
458-pound male taken by Christian Landis of Lancaster, in Cogan
House, Lycoming County, at 8:25 a.m. on Nov. 15. Other large bears
included: a 457-pound male taken by Michael Rapsky of Cairnbrook, in
Shade Township, Somerset County, at 4 p.m. on Nov. 16; and a
407-pound male taken by Shane Emel of Mill Hall, in Bald Eagle
Township, Clinton County, at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 15.
The two-day archery season harvest by WMU was: WMU 2C, 9; WMU 2D, 3;
WMU 2E, 2; WMU 2F, 2; WMU 2G, 32; WMU 3A, 8; WMU 4A, 2; and WMU 4D,
County harvests for the two-day archery season by region was:
Northwest: Butler, 2; Venango, 1; and Warren, 1.
Southwest: Indiana, 4; Fayette, 3; Cambria, 1; and Somerset, 1.
Northcentral: Clinton, 12; Centre, 8; Potter, 7; McKean, 5; Tioga,
5; Clearfield, 4; Elk, 3; Lycoming, 3; Union, 3; and Cameron, 1.
Southcentral: Huntingdon, 4; Blair, 2; Mifflin, 2; and Fulton, 1.
Created in 1895 as an independent state agency, the Game Commission
is responsible for conserving and managing all wild birds and
mammals in the Commonwealth, establishing hunting seasons and bag
limits, enforcing hunting and trapping laws, and managing habitat on
the 1.4 million acres of State Game Lands it has purchased over the
years with hunting and furtaking license dollars to safeguard
wildlife habitat. The agency also conducts numerous wildlife
conservation programs for schools, civic organizations and
The Game Commission does not receive any general state taxpayer
dollars for its annual operating budget. The agency is funded by
license sales revenues; the state's share of the federal
Pittman-Robertson program, which is an excise tax collected through
the sale of sporting arms and ammunition; and monies from the sale
of oil, gas, coal, timber and minerals derived from State Game
Anti-hunt groups claim bear policy
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
By TOM HOWELL JR., Herald Staff Writer
Animal rights groups filed a legal brief this month
alleging the state altered reports to cover up a flawed bear
management policy. The New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance and
the Bear Education and Resource Group (BEAR) submitted the document
Nov. 3 in anticipation of appeals court arguments scheduled for Nov.
29, NJARA's Freehold-based attorney Doris Lin said.
Gov. Jon Corzine has called for a review of the
existing bear management policy to determine how best to implement
other "non-lethal" alternatives, prompting some to wonder if the
bear hunt, scheduled for Dec. 4-9, will take place.
Citing new statistics, the anti-hunt group's 62-page
filing claims there are "numerous flaws, inconsistencies and
misrepresentations" in the bear policy, NJARA said. Among
other claims, the brief says a disproportionate high number of adult
females and male cubs were killed in 2003, and alleges the
defendants "later fabricated predictions of these results and
misrepresented the data, presumably to garner public support for the
Gene Rurka, president of the Somerset chapter of the
Safari Club International, disagrees with the anti-hunt group
assertions and said the bear population is a persistent problem in
New Jersey. "I think the number of sightings speaks for
itself," he said. "I never saw a Canadian goose growing up in New
Jersey, and all of a sudden I've got them everywhere. They're like
In 2005, NJARA and BEAR sued the Department of
Environmental Protect-ion, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Fish and
Game Council, and respondents-intervenors Safari Club International
and the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation, in response to the
Comprehensive Black Bear Manage-ment Policy. The policy was formed
after a state Supreme Court ruling in 2004. Hunters received
the green light for a hunt in 2005, but NJARA and BEAR expect the
hunt to be canceled this year in court, Lin said. "The 2004
ruling was very good because it forced the council to justify the
hunt with science, but when they tried to do that their arguments
fell apart," Lin said in a phone interview Tuesday.
Rurka referenced a scientific basis, saying there's
no predator for the bear, which creates a "huge population." Some
residents of Sussex County, he notes, do not let their children walk
alone on their property. He also questioned why NJARA and BEAR
are alleging there is misrepresented data less than a month before
the bear hunt is scheduled to begin.
Lawyers will present these opposing viewpoints
before Judges Edwin H. Stern, Donald Collester and Jack M. Sabatino,
according to Lin. "I believe the facts in the documents show
the (bear) policy is unscientific," Lin said.
The state DEP would not comment Tuesday on the
groups' statements, spokeswoman Darlene Yuhas said. "All we'll
say today is that at Gov. Corzine's request, (DEP) Commissioner
(Lisa P.) Jackson is reviewing the comprehensive bear management
policy and expects to a render a decision shortly," Yuhas said.
New Jersey Governor Will Not Approve Bear Hunt
Courtesy of U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance &
Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine plans to cancel the 2006 black bear hunt by
refusing to sign the state’s hunting and fishing regulations.
Corzine, who is a staunch opponent of the state’s bear season, refuses
to approve a routine five-year renewal of state fish and wildlife
regulations. The measure, which regulates hunting and fishing in New
Jersey, calls for annual black bear hunts through 2009.
Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is committed to ensuring the future of
bear hunting in New Jersey,” said U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation (USSAF)
Senior Vice President Rick Story. “Our legal team is evaluating the
situation to determine our options in protecting the hunt.”
and the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs sued the DEP
and its Commissioner, Bradley Campbell, when the Commissioner cancelled
the 2004 black bear hunt. The sportsmen’s groups argued that the
council’s authority to set hunting seasons is not subject to a DEP
veto. A lower court agreed, but the Supreme Court handed the authority
to the Commissioner.
when the state initially approved its bear season, the USSAF battled
antis’ legal challenges to stop the hunt. It has been in court each
year since to protect the hunt.
year’s bear season is scheduled to begin Dec. 4.
Bear Feeding Leads To
VTF&W NEWS: For Immediate Release:
October 18, 2006
Media Contact: Major David LeCours
WATERBURY, VT -- Sandra R.
Banks, age 56, of Montgomery Vermont was arraigned on October 2, 2006 in
Franklin District Court for charges stemming from a violation of an
order prohibiting feeding bears. Banks was convicted for felony
cultivation of marijuana and given a four-year deferred jail sentence.
She also received a $500 fine for violating an order not to feed bears.
A search warrant was conducted by Vermont
State Game Wardens on the Banks’ premises on September 22, for putting
out food that attracted bears after being warned not to do so, and
subsequently an indoor marijuana growing operation was discovered in an
outbuilding at her residence. The indoor growing operation included a
controlled environment using grow lights, fertilizers, fans, temperature
and humidity controls. A number of plants were found growing along with
processed marijuana in quantities which constituted a felony.
Banks had previously been issued an order
by a Vermont State Game Warden to stop feeding bears and to remove all
bird feeders that may attract bears.
Bears attracted to artificial food sources
provided by humans, including bird feeders, often become dependent on
those food sources and have to be destroyed when they pose a threat to
Vermont law prohibits
anyone from shooting a bear if they have intentionally placed bait or
food, including within a bird feeder, to lure wildlife onto their
property within the past 30 days. The law also authorizes the Fish &
Wildlife Department to order a person to remove any food that may be
attracting bears, including bird feeders. A person who shoots a bear
after putting out food for wildlife, including bird feeders, may be
fined up to $1,000. A person who does not remove the food after being
warned to do so may be fined up to $500.
Preliminary 2006 September Bear Season Numbers
Licensed black bear hunters took to the woods of western
and central Massachusetts during the September 5–23 early season and
emerged with 125 bruins. A male bear weighing 382 pounds was taken with
a bow and arrow in Holyoke and a sow (female bear) weighing 298 pounds
was taken with a bow and arrow in Sandisfield. Last year, 98 bears were
taken in the September season.
indicate the Western District office checked in 66 bears. The three
check stations in the Connecticut Valley checked in a total of 55 bears.
The Central District checked 3 bears, and the Westboro Field
Headquarters checked 1. Rifles, muzzleloaders, archery equipment and
certain handguns were permitted during the September season. Bear
hunters are reminded that the November portion of the bear season is now
three weeks long. The expanded second season begins November 6 and ends
November 25, 2006.
DNR Announces 2006 Final Black Bear Hunt
3rd Hunt Declared a Success
MT. NEBO -- The Maryland Department of
Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the
final numbers for the 2006 black bear hunting
season. The hunt was officially closed as of
October 24, at 9:00 p.m.
The 2006 bear season opened Monday, October 23,
one half-hour before sunrise in Garrett and
Allegany counties. As of Wednesday, October 25,
41 bears have been reported to official check
stations. The harvest objective for the 2006
bear hunt was 35-55 bears.
The estimated average weight of the bears taken
this year was 161lbs. The largest was a 464 lb.
male bear taken by William Corbin of Oakland in
The hunt by the numbers:
• 41 bears taken
• 39 from Garrett County, 2 from Allegany
• 161 lbs. average weight
• 78% of the bears were taken on private land
• 63% of successful hunters live in the hunt
• 451 hunters participated in the hunt and 2,402
hunters applied for a permit.
For more information, please contact Karina
Blizzard in Wildlife and Heritage Services at
NC to allow bear
hunting in sanctuary for first time since 1970
(Burnsville, N.C.-AP) October 16, 2006 - State officials are
allowing bear hunting in one of ten mountain sanctuaries for the first time
since the areas were established in 1970.
Officials say too many bears led them to open up the Mount
Mitchell Bear Sanctuary in Yancey County beginning Thursday. Wildlife
biologist Mark Jones says the program to protect the bears has been too
effective and there's a need to remove some of the bears from the sanctuary.
Bear hunting season opens in western North Carolina next
Monday. The hunting in the Mount Mitchell Sanctuary will start Thursday and
be allowed on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays on eight weekends between now
and year's end.
Some locals oppose lifting the ban.
Deer hunter Phil Sparks is opposed to
lifting the ban. He says the bears shouldn't be hunted now because they're
trying to put on fat for the winter. Sparks says he also doesn't like the
practice of the bears being chased by packs of hounds.
Sunday, October 15,
BY SARA K. SATULLO
Whether or not New Jersey
will have a bear hunt this year is in the hands of Gov. Jon Corzine, who
could make a decision by the end of this month. Previous hunts -- the
last two were held in early December -- sparked angry public disputes
between hunters and animal rights activists.
Opponents of the hunt have
been lobbying the administration to implement a non-lethal black bear
"Up to this point it has been
mostly that they have been taking the information and we've gotten
questions and requests for more," said Janine Mottta, spokeswoman for
the New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance. "So far we haven't heard whether
there will be a hunt this year or not."
Under state law, the Fish and
Game Council adopts a Fish and Game Code annually to protect and
conserve the state's fish and game population. The governor then reviews
it and has the option to make changes, approve it as it is or not take
any action, in which case the previous year's code stays in place.
The clock is ticking, and
Corzine is expected to render a decision or request more time by the end
Both last year's and this
year's codes hold provisions for a bear hunt, said Elaine Makatura,
spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.
John Rogalo, vice president
of the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, said his
organization members want the decision "to be based on science, not
Bear hunts were suspended in
1971 when the state's bear population dwindled to less than 100. The
state Division of Fish and Wildlife tried in 2000 to reinstate the hunt
to lower a growing bruin population. Opposition from the public caused
then-Gov. Christie Whitman to cancel the hunt.
Hunts were held in 2003 and
2005. Together the two hunts' kills tallied 626 bears, according to the
Division of Fish and Wildlife.
In 2004 DEP Commissioner
Bradley Campbell canceled the hunt in a dispute with the state Fish and
Game Council. He citied among his concerns poor population data
estimates. Campbell said he wanted to create a comprehensive non-lethal
management plan. In the legal battle that followed, the state Supreme
Court ruled Campbell had the authority to cancel the hunt.
"I certainly hope (the hunt)
doesn't happen," said Lynda Smith, director of the Bear Education and
Resource Group. "I think it is clear the public is opposed to it, and we
haven't been seeing the numbers we usually see. I'm very concerned they
have been over hunted."
It is difficult to say how
many bears roam the state, Motta said, though through conversations with
bear country residents she said it seems their numbers have diminished.
"It is our opinion that the
Fish and Wildlife estimates vastly inflated the numbers in order to call
for a hunt," she said. "Subsequently because so many bears have been
killed the population is much smaller than Fish and Wildlife is letting
Then-Gov. James McGreevey
passed a law in 2002 prohibiting intentional feeding of bruins,
including unsecured Dumpsters and trash cans. Smith said the law hasn't
been properly enforced and the hunt doesn't address the main draws
fueling bear and human contact.
"The problem isn't really how
many bears there are," she said. "The problem is how people are
coexisting with them. We need to stop luring them into our neighborhood
According to the state
Division of Fish and Wildlife in 2005 there were 1,104 black bear
complaints, not including calls handled by local law enforcement. There
was one attack on a person and 358 garbage incidents.
Bear advocates said they'd
like to see bear-proof garbage receptacles, more public education and
resources for local law enforcement and more aversion therapy techniques
used -- such as shooting bears with rubber bullets.
"Corzine ran saying he was
opposed to the hunt," Smith said. "I'd like to see him follow through on
North American Bear Foundation 9960 390th Street Pillager, MN 56473 218-746-3774