New Jersey residents’ complaints about problem black bears have more than doubled over last year, according to a recent article in the New Jersey Herald, yet Governor Jon Corzine dismissed those concerns, saying, “A lot of the problem is perception.”
I guess if you perceive a bear climbing onto your deck, playing in your hammock, rolling around in your backyard, or sniffing around your childrens’ bus stop, then there is nothing to worry about. (All such events in New Jersey are well-documented.) But luckily, Governor Corzine has a strategy to cope with such perceptions -- “bear-proof” garbage cans. In his perception, bears aren’t really out to hurt people, they are just looking for food.
Unfortunately, the best-designed garbage can in the world does not reduce the population of bears, and that is the real problem.
Despite the increasing complaints, despite scientific proof that bears have expanded into every county in the state, and despite overwhelming scientific grounds to justify a bear season, Corzine and other anti-hunters cling to the notion that better trash protection will solve this problem.
Moreover, Corzine told the Herald that “…he has not talked directly with specialists and biologists in the state Division of Fish and Wildlife, but said he would meet with them at some point and ‘look at the safety, terms and conditions,’ as well as getting data and facts.”
Gee, there’s an idea—actually talk to the experts and scientists who are trained to manage wildlife and get their opinion.
Corzine’s had several years to talk with Fish and Wildlife reps, of course, and if he hasn’t done so, it’s only because he knows what they are going to say—a regulated bear hunting season must be part of the state’s overall bear management plan.
The experts might even explain to Corzine that wildife management does not exist solely to keep bears out of people’s garbage. The bears themselves will suffer if they are allowed to overpopulate any more than they already have.
The experts might also tell Corzine that every once in awhile, black bears attack human beings. They would not say this to “promote fear of bears,” as suggested by something called the Bear Education and Resource Group. They would say it because it’s a fact, and bears conditioned to feeding around homes and roaming people’s backyard are more likely to attack than bears that live far from humans.
The experts might even tell Corzine that the best wildlife management tool we have is called your trigger finger.
But that’s just my perception.