NEWS, SPORTS, COMMENTARY, POLITICS for Gloucester City and the Surrounding Areas of South Jersey and Philadelphia

CANJ Applauds the State Senate for Bi-Partisan Effort to Create Jobs in Atlantic City
Video: Merry Christmas from Gloucester Catholic High School, Gloucester City N.J.

Notes from the Field; Reasons for Bear Hunt; NRA News


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Notes from the Field by Gary Devine: Brother Paul caught another stripped Marlin in Capo, Mexico. His first one is  mounted above his couch. A beautiful fish. They no longer kill the fish to be mounted.
 The boat captain takes measurements of the marlin and then releases it back into the water. The measurements go to the taxidermist.

Bear hunt helped balance population, available habitat

Saturday, December 18, 2010 

According to opinion polls, the majority of New Jerseyans were in favor of the recent black bear culling that ended last Saturday. Even New Jersey's highest court supported the hunt by ruling that it is "a safe, legal and responsible use of wildlife resources, as well as a legitimate and effective means to control overabundant game species in a cost-effective manner." Also, candidate Chris Christie was voted into office with his unambiguous support of a bear culling.

The actions of a small number of people in opposition to the hunt certainly added drama, with protests and madcap tales of conspiracy between the governor and me. But these antics were designed to exploit people's emotions; they were the sleight of hand meant to tempt our gullibility and distract us from applying reason. 

The truth is that we are experiencing a burgeoning bear population at the same time as we are experiencing dwindling habitat for them. This is causing increased reports of incidents of bear-human conflict -- a public health and safety issue. The solution is either to increase available habitat for bears or cull bears to bring the population in line with available habitat. Members of the vocal opposition to the culling did not offer to raze their homes and return the acreage to wilderness for the expanding bear population. In fact, they did not offer a single solution to reverse diminishing habitat. They provided only firebrand rhetoric. It took the leadership of our state's wildlife managers, the courts and the governor to address a festering situation that is as unsuitable for bears as it is for people. 

As a result of the hunt, the number of bears that were culled fell into the range projected by professionals in the field of biology and wildlife management. The use of hunting is not only a straightforward solution to reducing the bear population, it also helps to provide equilibrium to the ecosystem while supplying food to those who opt to hunt versus buying slaughtered cow, sheep, pig, turkey, fowl or fish at the food market. 

A study commissioned by the Division of Fish and Wildlife and performed by wildlife biologists at East Stroudsburg University put the number of bears in two study areas of northwest New Jersey at almost 3,500. A reported 589 bears were killed during the hunt, which is 17 percent of the area's population. In spite of the culling, biologists believe that at least 800 cubs will be born in winter dens that will emerge next spring. In other words, the culling was designed to reduce the rate of black bear population growth; there will be more black bears next year, but the number will more likely be approximately 3,700 instead of 4,300, had there been no hunt.

A few animal-rights activists bitterly blamed the Department of Environmental Protection transition team for recommending the hunt. I was a member of the transition team, and I can attest that its members were focused on "big picture" issues, not black bears. After much discussion, one of the recommendations we made was for the DEP to renew its focus on natural resource management and conservation. We envisioned a new, self-sustaining department of natural resources whose priority would be the environment and the practice of stewardship of forests and threatened and endangered species habitat. The transition team report is public information.

It makes sense that we continue to use hunting as one of the key tools to manage a balance between bear populations and available habitat. It helps to open areas for bears to recede from human contact while providing sustenance to the hunter. Hunting helps to ease the ever-increasing number of bear-human conflicts and provides a measure of public safety.

Anthony P. Mauro Sr., chairman and co-founder of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, writes about conservation and environmental stewardship

Anthony P. Mauro, Sr
New Jersey Outdoor Alliance 
New Jersey Outdoor Alliance Conservation Foundation
New Jersey Outdoor Alliance Environmental Projects       

NRA NEWS: BATFE Requests “Emergency” Authority To Track Semi-Automatic Rifle Sales


The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has proposed that it be given emergency authority for six months, beginning January 5, to require about 8,500 firearms dealers along the border with Mexico “to alert authorities when they sell within five consecutive business days two or more semiautomatic rifles greater than .22 caliber with detachable magazines.”  Washington Post storyreporting on the BATFE proposal described that definition as being applicable to “so-called assault weapons,” but it would also apply to many rifles that have never been labeled with that term. 

The reporting requirement will apparently be imposed under the “authority” the BATFE has used in the past to demand reporting of other types of transactions from certain limited groups of dealers over the past 10 years, but the new proposal is far broader than any previous use of this authority.  Of course, there's no law today that prevents dealers from reporting suspicious transactions (or attempted transactions) to the BATFE, and dealers often do so. The BATFE is also free to inspect dealers' sales recordseither for annual compliance inspections or during a criminal investigation. 


Breyer Fires Warning Shot Across Second Amendment’s Bow:  On Sunday, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer reminded Americans why it is important to vote for a president whose nominees to the court will likely be faithful to the Constitution, to vote for U.S. senators who will reject nominees who likely will not be faithful, and to vote for federal and state legislators who can check and balance justices like Stephen Breyer who don't believe the Second Amendment protects any meaningful right. 


School Board Rules In Favor Of Student:  As we reported in last week’s Grassroots Alert, Demari DeRue, a 16-year-old junior at Columbia Falls High School in Columbia Falls, Mont., was facing expulsion from school because, after a recent weekend family hunting trip, she inadvertently left her unloaded hunting rifle locked in her trunk, and then drove to school Monday morning and parked on school property. 



Another Way To Get Involved--Join NRA’s Facebook And Twitter Groups:  Internet social networking has exploded in recent years, and websites such as Facebook and Twitter attract millions of users.  This on-line community fosters a connection between its users, and allows distribution of user-generated content (like pictures, profiles, music, video, and text). 


Grassroots News Minute Video:  To view this week’s “Grassroots News Minute” video, please click here: