Court Refuses To Stop N.J. Bear Hunt; Activists Fume

Hunters Hope To Eliminate Up To 700 Black Bears By Dec. 11

WANAQUE, N.J. (CBS 2/ 1010 WINS/ WCBS 880) — A lawsuit to stop New Jersey’s bear hunt has failed, paving the way for the state’s first hunt since 2005.

With an increasing number of bear encounters and complaints state officials say the goal is to kill 300 to 700 bears during the hunt, which runs from Monday through Dec. 11.

But as CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reports, not everyone in bear country is supporting the hunt.

Black bears will be in the cross-hairs come Monday, when hunters will descend upon seven counties to kill them.

They’ll be firing their shotguns in the woods, some 400 feet away from Kirsten Denuto’s home. She said she worries one of her dogs will be mistaken for a bear.

“I guess I will have to put a red bandana around him,” Denuto said.

Her neighbor, Sue Kehoe, is a bear activist who said she sees bears the way she recently captured one on video in her backyard — as cute and playful, trying to live in their natural habitat.

“This hunt is not about safety. It’s not about population. It’s about trophies rugs and wall mounts,” Kehoe said.

But at a Wanaque gun shop people buying ammunition for the bear hunt said these creatures are becoming more dangerous and getting too close to homes.

“Four o’clock in the morning had a bear rip my shed apart and try to drag my deer out,” hunter A.J. Corter told Sloan.

People who live in bear country told Sloan the key to keeping bears out of their backyards is to not leave food out and to use secure trash cans bears can’t open.

“When the Division of Fish and Wildlife says that the bear hunt is one component it’s the only component because they have no money for non-lethal and non-lethal is the only thing that works,” said Angie Metler of the Animal Protection League of N.J.

In Trenton, protestors made a last ditch effort to stop the hunt. Dozens of animal rights activists took to the State House steps Friday in an effort to get Gov. Chris Christie to stop the bear hunt.

“Governor Christie by executive order could — Sunday night, Monday morning — could cancel this, and that’s what we’re asking him to do,” one woman at the rally told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

The state argues that the growing bear population puts people in danger, but activists disagree with the assessment.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reports

“People should be educated, don’t leave garbage out, don’t leave food out,” another activist said. “Bears are actually very shy — there’s no need to hunt them, there’s no need to kill them.”

Safety is also a huge concern. Timmy Peschl told Sloan licensed hunters put residents first.

“A lot of people don’t realize one of the number one things in hunting is safety,” Peschl said.

Still, the bear divide is evident here in bear country.

More than 290 bears were killed in the 2005 hunt. Bear activists said they’ll be protesting at stations where dead bears will be taken.

More from Levon Putney
  • michelle

    I won’t allow anyone to hunt on my property.

    • Cynthia Belovin


  • kris

    dogs are only at risk from trigger happy hunters. The bears are more afraid of dogs and people than we are of them. I’m sure the majority of the people for the bear hunt rarely encounter them! When you live with them you get to see how beautiful they are!

  • Bear Hugger!!!!


  • Terry

    As a lifelong native of Sussex Cty I applaud the courts. NJ Bears have no natural preditors to control the population The cubs born to NJ females have a better survival rate as well as larger avrage births per pregnancy than any other Eastern state. Both PA and NY have bear hunts to control the population. The lady afraid of her dogs being shot by bear hunters would have the same concern next week with deer hunters. Her dogs are at greater risk from being killed by a bear. Sue Kehoe is serving 1 yr of probation due to interferring with biologists changing a battery in a radio collar on a bear. She has been accused of feeding bears as well. Not all NJ residents oppose the hunt….I have never been a hunter but support the bear hunt!

    • Marcus

      It’s too bad that the kind of event that brings out trigger happy, homicidal types has to take place at all. Many sympathies to the bears.

      • DanTe

        So anyone who hunts is automatically a “homicidal type”? You have got to be born st\/pid. Nobody can possibly be working that hard at being that st\/pid. Just too much work.

  • Joe D

    They’re just animals. They’re no endangered. They’re a nuisance. No harm in killing some for the safety of children. While we’re at it, we should put a bounty on canadian geese and deer.

  • Gregg

    If only the bear had a chance against a animal killer with a gun. Must be a way to even the score ?

  • Hornet Montana

    Can you even EAT a bear?

    • mary

      Yes, you can eat bear. Bear jerky is quite good. Yea, PETA go hug a bear. Lets round up all the bears and send them to PETAs house.

      • GO PETA!

        Work with me here, mary. The more folks that goes out and hug those cuddly bears, the better off the rest of us will be.

      • Cynthia Belovin

        Mary you are really like BEEF JERKY!

  • Angel

    The bear hunt concept stinks and has stunk since 2005 ; finally the stench of Martin and the DEP has finally reached the decent taxpaying poulation of this state.Taxpayers should petition to “get him out of office.”

    • Tired of T ARDS

      Angel will save the bears. We’ll tranquilize the poor little defenseless bears and move them into Angel’s house.

      A two word definition of Ange: DUMB C\/NT

      • mari n

        Hey Tired of T Ards
        Why don’t you grow up and have something constructive instead of something totally useless and stupid to say. It’s people like yourself that prove BEARS are more intelligent.

  • PETA

    Help save the bears people! Get between the bears and the hunter during the hunt! Just hug the bears. They can’t shoot the poor little bears as long as you’re all over it. Go people! Save the bears!

    • joe

      Meet at Roy’s house. Moving all the bears there today. We’ll have doughnuts!

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