I Have a Gripe

August 7, 2011

Bear that Wandered into Stokes Campsite Killed

This week was a mix of lies, stories and excuses on a multiple of fronts. No, I’m not talking about the ongoing nonsense in D.C. – I’m talking about the killing of a black bear in Stokes State Forest.

According to the initial story, a bear attacked two young campers sending them to the hospital with minor injuries. The bear was shot (non kill shot) in the  neck and left the area wounded. A search continued until the bear was caught in a snare and killed.

Later it was learned the counselors jumped to conclusions about the event and the kids lied about being attacked, as doctors that examined the boys and determined their wounds were not fresh. It was also learned that the food at the camp site was not stored properly, which will always bring a bear curiously looking for an easy meal. DEP still classified this as a “Category One” bear, meaning, it displayed “aggressive behavior.”

This was a travesty on multiple fronts. First, the two camp counselors obviously didn’t stress bear safety and food storage properly to their campers. Next, you have two boys who lied about their encounter. You had a representative make an incredibly poor shot that failed to kill the animal the first time, so the bear headed off injured. Finally, the DEP stood by their initial decision, classifying this animal as a category one, setting traps and ultimately killing the bear. There is plenty of blame to go around.

Let’s remember this was an 18-month-old yearling who smelled food and set off looking for an easy meal. It was in a wooded area, not a residential neighborhood. Yearlings are on their own for the first time and are naturally curious about their area and new found independence. If you are in bear country, you need to understand how to store your food, and take important safety measures in order to minimize negative encounters. After all, you are now in their home. My husband and I often fish in bear country and we are always armed with whistles and bear spray and are sure to stay alert and aware of our surroundings. This is just common sense.

These suburbanites need to understand the ramifications of their actions that resulted in the death of a young bear.

Now to clarify, I am not “anti-hunt.” I believe it is important to hunt responsibly, following all safety regulations as a way to control population by “thinning the herd” and avoid starvation by these animals in the winter. Additionally, all hunters I know consume what they harvest, using it as a food source. At the same time, Jersey needs to stop building strip malls in every open space. It is because of the lack of open space that you see more and more wildlife coming into residential areas.

This is a very unfortunate example of ill-prepared counselors, lying kids and over-zealous officials. I hope they all understand the ramifications of their actions.

December 2, 2010

“It Was a Just a Turkey”

Filed under: General Annoyances,Laws,New Jersey,Outdoors — alvb1227 @ 1:04 am
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I just saw this story on my local news and I was compelled to write a post.

In Rutherford, NJ, two teenagers killed one of the borough’s wild turkeys in July of this year with a bow and arrow. The backlash has been so bad, the case has been moved to another venue.

Now many of you that know me personally or have read this blog regularly, know that I am an avid angler (catch and release) and thoroughly enjoy the outdoors. I am not a hunter or “catch and keep” angler, but do not begrudge anyone who is, as long as they hunt and fish responsibly and consume what they kill. This represents the large majority of hunters.

The two young men who killed this turkey, that was essentially considered a neighborhood mascot, are not even close to hunters. From what I have read about these two, they are essentially the neighborhood delinquents that even when confronted after shooting the turkey made snide remarks about the event. They received multiple tickets and summons from Rutherford and the state Division of Fish and Wildlife and the case will be heard in court soon.

Since the event, the court has received hundreds of letters from citizens outraged over the event, urging the judge to give out the maximum possible sentence. The two are also receiving harassing phone calls and people are standing outside their homes with signs.

When Jolyn Garner, one of the boy’s mothers, was recently interviewed, she said the following; “It’s just been nonstop harassment for four months,” she said. “I’m sorry the turkey was killed, but it was a just a turkey.”

Wow…good parenting example. Now I know where her boy gets it from.

The kicker to all this is while being interviewed, young Garner also informed the reporter he is a vegetarian for “personal and moral reasons.” Is he serious? Killing a turkey, or any animal, in a public place, for fun, is moral? He was in a park. He could’ve missed the turkey and shot a child!

In case you can’t tell, I’m furious. I hope these kids get whatever the maximum they can receive. What they should really do is give them community service with Fish and Wildlife helping with wildlife management of the state turkey population. That should help them understand what nature in New Jersey is all about.

It is because of idiots like this people have such a low opinion of Jersey.

August 21, 2010

Fishing Licenses ARE Important!

Filed under: Laws,New Jersey,Outdoors — alvb1227 @ 2:08 am
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Don’t remember if I ever mentioned it here before, but I am quite the avid fly angler. I fish with my husband whenever we have some spare time. From ponds, to streams, to lakes to rivers…we love them all!

Now why am I telling you all this? Because the last few times I have been fishing, the only individuals I have seen displaying fishing licenses are the other anglers I know.

NJ Fishing License Information…

“Anyone age 16 and older must have a valid license (see Exceptions) to fish the fresh waters of New Jersey with handline, rod and line, or longbow and arrow. This includes privately owned lakes and other waters. New Jersey does not require a general saltwater fishing license but there are a limited number of saltwater licenses and permits required.”

What are the exceptions you may ask? Anyone younger than 16, older than 70 or farmers and family members that live on a farm do not need a license to fish on their farm, but must obey all fishing regulations.

While some complain about the cost of the different licenses are too high, they have no problem complaining when fish stocking is reduced or state parks have reduced hours or are closed completely. I also know some that copy their license from year to year and just adjust the year to avoid paying the license fee each year. Well, where you do think those funds come from???

So, I say suck it up, teach your kids how to follow the laws and buy a fishing license. And while you are at it, trying following “catching and release” laws.

April 4, 2010

Short-Sided Thinking in New York State

Filed under: Finances,New York,Outdoors — alvb1227 @ 10:20 pm
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In case I never mentioned it before, I love fly fishing. It one of those passions in my life that is hard to explain to those who don’t enjoy the outdoors, especially fishing.

Well, this past weekend was opening day in New York State, so Glenn and I headed up to one of our favorite places to enjoy some fishing…Roscoe, NY. This is a great little town where people stop and say hello to strangers and everyone talks about the big stonefly hatch. Like the Jersey shore towns in the summer, Roscoe survives on the fishing season.

This is why I was so shocked when an annual non-resident fishing license has increased by $30 to a whopping $70 a year! That means just to fish, my husband I spent $140 on licenses. To put this in perspective, we stayed in a great resort that had an opening day special for $120 per night. So our licenses cost more than one night’s stay.

Now, you may think I am just complaining about license fees, but I’m not. As usual, like most state governments, and our federal government, the New York State government has decided to raise fees on hunting and fishing licenses instead of belt tightening like many families are doing right now. I was chatting with the woman who was issuing the licenses told me multiple times she has had to cancel out the license and each time she would, she would make a note “canceled due to price increase.” She wants the state to see how many licenses are not purchased due to the new cost.

In my opinion, this is short-sided thinking. Ultimately, fewer people will purchase hunting and fishing licenses and ultimately, fewer people will visit towns like Roscoe. It is those towns this will hurt more than anyone. Fewer people will go to the Roscoe Diner for french toast, fewer people will visit the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum and Center, shop on the main street of Roscoe and stay at the small individually-owned hotels in the area. Like I said, it is the outdoors that keeps this town going. That’s why it is known as “Trout Town, USA.”

So, I say shame on New York State’s short-sided thinking. Not only will less license fees be collected, fewer taxes on hotel rooms, meals and impulse purchases will also be a result of this ridiculous increase.

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