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[at-l] Bears in NJ

John,  A good heads up to anyone going into NW Jersey to hike.  I have 
written (and spoken at public meetings)that I have not been outdoors in 
Sussex County since 1996.  The reason was bears.  I used to run my dogs up 
there (legal) but had to stop because of too many close calls with bears.  I 
have a huge respect for bears and there size.  Bears in NJ however have no 
fear of humans.  This is why bears in NJ and places like the Smokies are 
becoming such a concern.  They are protected and therefore are learning they 
won't be hurt, just bothered.

On Monday June 4th I joined a friend for a day hike in Sussex.  This was my 
first trip there in 5 years.  We camped Sunday night and got a nice early 
start Monday morning.  Weather was great, hike was great and afterward I 
drove him to a few places in Sussex he would like to hike.  As we neared 
camp that afternoon, a large bruin stood up along the road and commenced 
scratching his back on a tree.  He then came back to all fours and proceeded 
to saunter around my vehicle.  He was anywhere from 400-500 pounds.  He had 
no fear.  I personally have no desire to hunt bear, but I think it is time 
to reduce there numbers and more importantly instill a little fear into 
them.  It is, unfortunately, best for people and the bears (IMO).

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