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calendar   Monday - September 22, 2014

Hikers Horror

In The Woods? Stay With The Group, Always

A man hiking in a heavily wooded area of northern New Jersey was attacked and killed by a black bear during the weekend, police said on Monday.

Darsh Patel, 22, of Edison, New Jersey, and four friends encountered the bear on Sunday afternoon in the Apshawa Preserve, about 40 miles (64 km) northwest of New York City, according to the West Milford Township, New Jersey, police department.

The bear began to follow the hikers and they scattered, police said in a statement. Four of them regrouped but Patel was missing and they contacted police, it said. Patel’s body was found about two hours later.

Evidence at the scene indicated that the victim had been attacked by a bear,” the statement said.

A bear was located at the scene and euthanized, police said.

Black bears are common in New Jersey, where they typically are not aggressive and tend to flee from humans, according to the Department of Environmental Protection website.

I added the italics to the text above so you can read between the lines. They’re saying on the radio that the guy was half eaten.

WEST MILFORD - Current evidence suggests a black bear killed a hiker in Apshawa Preserve on Sunday. If that is the case, the incident would mark the only fatal bear attack ever recorded in New Jersey.

Police said there was evidence that Edison resident Darsh Patel, 22, had been attacked by a bear when his body was found a few hours after he had been separated from his hiking companions following a bear encounter.

Police said in a Sunday release that the five men, all from Edison, had been hiking together in the 576-acre nature preserve on Sept. 21 when they encountered a black bear that began following them.

“They became frightened and attempted to flee the area,” said West Milford police Lt. Keith Ricciardi in the release. “During the confusion the group became separated as they ran in different directions.”

Wow. That’s amazing, really. In all the centuries that people have been here, nobody ever got et by a bar before.

The Ashwara nature preserve, not even one square mile, is located about 2 miles northwest of Butler/Bloomberg NJ. The area is known for having a huge bear population. Black bears have become a nuisance there, raiding garbage cans etc. They even break into homes looking for food. When the state does have a bear hunt - sometimes it gets cancelled due to protests - this area always produces lots of bears. Waywayanda State Park, the most bear-dense part of the state, is just a couple miles north of this place.

[2013] After reaching near-extinction in the 1970s, the Garden State bear population burgeoned by the early 2000s. But as the animal population grew into the thousands with ample food sources in the nation’s most-densely populated state, officials opened up a week for bear hunting in December.

Hunts in 2003 and 2005 brought in 328 and 298 kills, respectively. After a hiatus of a few years and some battles in court, the hunt resumed in 2010 under a new, five-year bear management plan.

The latest hunts easily set records, but kill totals have dropped each year — from 592, to 469, to 287 last fall. This year’s six-day season is expected to “harvest” about 240, said a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, Larry Ragonese.

“I think we’re moving toward a better balance,” Ragonese said.

Bear contact with people decreased 20 percent from 2011 to 2012, and another 20 percent leading into this year’s hunt. Bears now number between 2,500 and 2,800 — down from the 3,400 estimated before the 2010 hunt, officials said.

Signs at the preserve parking lot mention nothing about potential bear encounters, but residents in the heavily wooded corner of Passaic County said bear sightings are common in the area, especially in spring, summer and fall. [well duh, because they hibernate in winter]

Many were shocked to hear of the fatal attack.

“Probably two, three times a week you’ll see them sometimes,” Bloomingdale resident Harvey Miller told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell. “I was kind of scared about it.”

“We see them in our neighborhoods all the time and there’s never been any aggression towards anybody ever,” said parkgoer John Davidson. “Everyone was shocked because this has never happened.”

“I don’t feel safe at all,” one hiker told 1010 WINS’ Rebecca Granet. “I’m sure there’s bear in all the woods on all the trails but we haven’t encountered anything like this before.”

If you see bears 2 or 3 times a week all the time, your area is overrun with them.

Ironically, a long-planned seminar is being held at the township building at 7 p.m. Monday on how to coexist peacefully with black bears.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/22/2014 at 11:41 AM   
Filed Under: • Animals •  
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