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Sarah Palin will pry your Klondike bar from your cold dead fingers.

calendar   Thursday - February 25, 2010

He Killed The Wabbit

Apologies to Elmer Fudd and that old Bugs Bunny cartoon “What’s Opera, Doc?”, but I couldn’t help thinking that sad thought when I heard this story.

The little town of Denville NJ is about 20 miles east of us, and about 20 miles north. The most northwestern corner of New Jersey really is the sticks. Or highly rural. Or a nearly unspoiled forest wilderness. All depends on how you look at it, but the area north of Route 80 and west of Route 287 is sparsely populated and very woodsy. Denville is right at the inner southeast corner of that zone, so it just barely qualifies. Think of it more as “ex-urbia”, an outer suburb town like mine.

That area may be sparsely populated with people, but it’s chock full of critters. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! At least black bears, that’s for sure. Once upon a time they were just about gone, but they’ve come back just fine, almost to the nuisance level. Maybe beyond the nuisance level. And they can’t be hunted here. Not 100% sure of that last statement - the state tries to get a bear hunting season going every year, but the PETA folks and their cousins, the loony left, throw a huge hissy fit and a big protest, and vow to run around in the woods causing problems, etc. I think they have a bad case of Pooh-ism, or Bambi-itis. They don’t see bears as the big, scary, frightening predators that they really are. Large aggressive animals to whom your pets and your children look like snack food. Sooner or later, somebody is going to get killed.

And every year when the hippies have their protest, the news folks trot out some “expert” who tells us how we bad humans are encroaching on the animals domain. Bull-oney. That may have been true 100 years ago or more, when most of the state was farmland. But the farms gave out, and the forests came back. And animals don’t live that long anyway. No, the truth is that they adapt just fine. Especially now that there is so much less pollution than there was back in the 60’s. And so much less hunting, and so many more protected species. That same expert usually tells us that black bears rarely grow past 150 pounds. More BS. Bears in the 300-500 pound range are not that rare at all around here. And a quarter ton of bear is a whole lot of critter. And Mr. Expert will trot out the tired old canard that only baby bears can climb trees. Guess again.

My mom lives up in outer-suburbia across the border in NY. Nice little town, but it’s fully built up. No room for any more homes or roads or office buildings. Fully developed. They have bald eagles hunting squirrels in the middle of town. She sent me pictures of what looks like an otter slide in the snow in their backyard. We figure it’s fishers. Fishers. Vicious woozles!! The folks in the next town or so over from hers, right along the Hudson river, had to call in a game tracker because they thought they had a jaguar. No, it was “merely” a mountain lion, the jag’s first cousin ( although some folks said it was just a big dog ). You can see Manhattan from the riverbank there. 65 miles to the southwest, I’d like to borrow their pumas for a while. We are drowning in deer here. And geese. And we have lots of foxes. And hawks. And vultures by the millions (official state bird ya know). And skunks, and ‘possums, and rackety-coons. And coyotes. And bears. Oh my.

So don’t feed me that “encroaching on their habitat” BS. Wrong. They are encroaching on our habitat. Because it’s easy living in the ‘burbs. And that is starting to pose a danger to us people.


NJ police kill bear that ate pet rabbit

DENVILLE, N.J.—Police in northern New Jersey shot and killed a 400-pound bear after it ate a pet rabbit.

Joe McCabe says the bruin ripped through the screened porch of his Denville home and devoured his 11-year-old daughter’s rabbit, named Blackie.

McCabe also says the bear had rummaged through his garbage that had been left outside.

Police found the bear in a tree near McCabe’s home and shot it.



That’s all the story that seems to be on the internet. But from what I’ve heard, the family has bears running around in their yard frequently. And I heard that the cops came and shot the bear half a dozen times, at which point it climbed a tree, hung out, then fell down dead. And that the little kid witnessed the whole event, from beginning to end, and is now strongly traumatized. And that a conservation officer came along with the cops, and was starting to write the guy a ticket for exposed refuse in his yard, when he realized that all the mess was caused by the bear tearing up the back of this guy’s home and yard.

This little story is running on lots of web pages, and in the comments therein most people are taking the bear’s side. After all, killing bunnies is what bears do. And they’re blaming the father for leaving garbage around, “attracting” the bear.

Two counter-points to the commenter criticisms:

1) Bears are quite smart, and they learn quickly. Do you want a bear running around your neighborhood that has learned how to smash it’s way through house walls and windows to find the yummy tasty treats inside? Do you really think your house, exterior walls made of 1/16” thick vinyl siding over 1/2” chipboard, interior walls made of 3/8” drywall and 2 coats of paint, is going to even slow down a 400 pound bear with the munchies? Hardly. And I guarantee you they can bite through 2x4 studs too, and quickly.

2) I survived family camping as a child. I’ve written about it before. One of the last places we ever went to, we had our campsite ravaged by a pack of bears one night. All night long. While we huddled in a thin canvas tent. Such fun!! The bear troop came by every night. The garbage cans at that campground were genuine Beetle Bailey army surplus. The nearly bulletproof kind, made out of super heavyweight welded steel straps. We’d put the garbage out in the evening, and then put the biggest boulder we could lift on top of the lids. It didn’t make any difference at all. Every night ... wham!! ... and that can got knocked right across the dirt road and the contents eaten. Big bears can knock over a 5 cubic yard dumpster. Just how do you go about making your household garbage cans truly bear proof?


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 02/25/2010 at 08:20 PM   
Filed Under: • Animals •  
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