Overwhelming bears

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:58

    To the Editor: It has come to my attention that the bear hunt is again in question. Unfortunately for the people of this small Sussex County town, bears are overwhelming us. They are magnificent animals and, without a doubt, a large contributor to why people visit Sussex County. However, in the last two years, the encounters between human and bruin have risen disproportionately to what we had seen the year of the last hunt. Why? They are are starving due to the overpopulation. They have lost massive amounts of habitat due to development in these rural areas and they just do not have adequate food sources. It will not be long before they really begin attacking farm animals or house pets who unfortunately cross their path. Both a miniature and full-grown horse (about 15.2 hands - 62 inches to the shoulder) were severely injured by a bear and had to be put to sleep. I have a farm. I have horses, barn cats, chickens, and a dog...I am concerned for them. I am also concerned for the school-age kids who may have to walk a few blocks to their bus stop like I did when I was in school. One of them will have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in their backpack and if a bear shows up, the kid is not going to think about throwing the sandwich at it. The bears need to be controlled or, I fear, there will be serious consequences. I reported numerous bear sightings in the past year and nothing was done. Something needs to be done; a permanent solution needs to be found. We need to eliminate some of these animals to ensure our safety and theirs. Hunting is not just about the trophy for responsible and knowledgeable hunters, it is about conservation. To ensure a healthy population of bears, some need to be weeded out so there is enough food for the remaining population. Oh, and for those who think Sussex County is transporting bears into South Jersey, that is a myth. The bears are spreading south to find food. You can find information about bear conservation online at conservenjbears.org. Please take the time to educate yourselves and those around you about both the plight of the bears and that of the people who live in bear country. Carla Mazzocchi Stillwater