New Jersey Officials Say Black Bear Didn’t Hurt 2 Boys At Campsite

BRANCHVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A state environmental official says a black bear that wandered into a campsite in a northwestern New Jersey state forest did not injure two young campers, as authorities first thought.

Fish and Wildlife Division Assistant Director Larry Herrighty said Thursday that hospital officials concluded the abrasions found on the 11- and 12-year-old boys were not caused by a bear.

The 2-year-old Yearling black bear did scare everyone.

“These are the types of bears that tend to be a bit, kind of like human teenagers, they’re a bit looser, run amok a bit,” Larry Ragonese, of the New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection, told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.

The youths were with a group of nine campers and two counselors sleeping in tents in the Stokes State Forest in Sussex County when the bear entered their campsite around 5 a.m. Wednesday searching for food.

The bear was scared off by whistles and shouting. It was shot by a conservation officer as it fled.

“Probably the bear is somewhere in a tree, on the side of a hillside curled up, licking its wounds,” Ragonese said.

So now, with the misunderstanding cleared up, why not just let the bear be? Wildlife experts said the bear had enough close exposure to humans to warrant capture if possible.

CBS 2 spoke with the leader of the Trailblazers camping group Thursday night who stood by the way its counselors responded by taking the kids to the hospital just in case.

State officials said they will likely give the search another 48 hours tops, then call it over.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Jim Boral

    I was riding my bicycle thru the forest when I suddenly came upon a black bear -it just looked at me and then disappeared into the brush – boy was I startled!

  • Micha

    Wow, maybe it’s about time these urban groups stop going into the wilderness. Next they’ll be shooting and killing ducks because “well, they were in the pond we want to swim in” or killing birds because ‘they pooped on our tent.” Urbanites who cannot co-exist peacefully with nature should stay in the city and leave these poor animals alone…

  • bill burns

    NAACP bays quit picking on the colored bears. Why don’t you go after the white bears?

  • Annoyed

    If it was scared off by whistles and shouting, why the need to shoot it?? So it may be on a hillside or up a tree….with a gunshot wound? That it’s just licking, like it got a scratch??
    Pffft! Humans really are the menace.

    • Ticked off in Pa

      It’s audacious that you send a bunch of children into the wild where wild things live and EAT, then get upset when you see you a bear looking for food…moreover, you SHOOT the young bear. If you’re going to teach children about nature and kill nature trying to do it, stay the #$%^ home.

      • Micha

        It’s true. I never understand how people can go into the woods and then be SHOCKED when they come in contact with a wild animal. Or those people who want to live in brand new housing devlopments bordering the woods and then they get upset when they see a coyote.. THEY were here first and people need to realize that. A bear is entitled to roam in the woods, its the people who don’t belong there if they can’t learn how to act/react with nature.

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