Bear Kills Man in New Jersey
September 22, 2014
A bear kills man in New Jersey. A question that I need to ask before and need the reader to think about as they read the following is: What if the victim was armed? If he had a pistol for protection would he be alive today?
A 299-pound black bear attacked and killed a 22-year-old man who had been hiking with friends in a northern New Jersey nature preserve Sunday, wildlife officials said. According to state officials it is the state’s first deadly bear attack on a human since 1852. West Milford police said four friends from Edison were hiking in the Apshawa Preserve, a 576-acre natural area when they encountered the bear.
Apparently the bear began to follow the group. The four men scattered, three later regrouping. A search team found the man’s body a short time later. Officials stated the victim had bite and claw marks on his body that indicated he’d been attacked by the bear. The bear was found 30 to 40 yards from the body and killed. Authorities said it was 4 years old. The animal is at a lab where authorities will conduct a necropsy to confirm if the bear was sick or healthy.
New Jersey Department of Fish, Game and Wildlife Biologist, Kelcey Burguess said about the attack, “It’s more likely the bear was looking for food”.
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Ragonese said bears are endemic to the region and have been sighted in all 21 counties, but the number of human encounters with the beasts has decreased in recent years due to population management and hiker education.
New Jersey has recorded about one instance a year of bears being aggressive to humans, or in rare cases, swiping or swatting at people, but none of those cases have been deadly, authorities said.
“What happened this week is almost unheard of,” said Ragonese.
There are between 2,000 and 3,000 bears in New Jersey during this time of year, Burguess said. About 200 to 300 are killed during an annual hunt in December. West Milford, which is part of the hunt away, has a particularly high number of bears per square mile compared with other counties nationwide.
No hunting is permitted in the nature preserve where the man was attacked.
The answer to my question is: Unfortunately New Jersey knows better. Trying to purchase a handgun is damn near impossible there. Here in the Adirondacks, when I hike I typically carry a pistol. I have never encountered a bear but know I am capable of protecting myself if such an encounter as described above happens.