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Tuesday, August 2, 2005
By LYNN OLANOFF

Herald Staff Writer

MONTAGUE — A bear bit a sleeping camper and tried to drag him away from a shelter along the Appalachian Trail at High Point State Park last month, state officials said Monday. The bear was killed Friday after becoming ensnared in a trap at the same campsite, officials said.

The male camper, whose name has not been released, was sleeping with a group around 6:30 a.m. on July 13 at the Mashipacong Shelter when the bear bit him on the leg and attempted to drag both him and his sleeping bag, said Karen Hershey, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The bear left "marks" on the camper, Hershey said, but would not release details of his injuries Monday.

State officials learned of the incident from a High Point State Park ranger on July 21, Hershey said. The spokeswoman said the late notification combined with a weeklong investigation into the incident was the reason for delayed public notification.

The State Division of Fish and Wildlife set a trap for the bear Wednesday at the shelter, the campsite on the Appalachian Trail in Montague where the July 13 incident occurred, Hershey said. The shelter is near Deckertown Turnpike in the southeast corner of the park close to the Wantage border.

The 152-pound, 5-year-old female bear caught in the trap Friday was later identified as the same bear who bit the camper, Hershey said. She did not say how the bear was identified.

"The Division (of Fish and Wildlife) was confident it caught the offending bear," she said.

DEP Press Director Elaine Makatura said the department does not release the names of people involved in bear incidents to "protect (their) anonymity."

The Mashipacong Shelter and nearby sections of the Appalachian Trail were closed for a few days during the investigation. They have since been reopened.

High Point State Park Superintendent John Keator referred a call Monday inquiring about the incident to the DEP press office.
 
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WOW !!!!! thats not far from where I hunt !!!!! Thats a small bear....152lbs 5 year old female. my bear was almost 2 yrs old and was 200lbs live weight.
 

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Lynda and Stuie reply:

"Maybe the camper should have slept in a bear-proof garbage can and the tragedy of killing the bear could have been avoided."

"The bear was only playing with the leg or misidentified the leg as a wild berry branch. It was the camper's fault."
 

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That area has so many bears it was just bound to happen. 2 years ago while muzzleloader deer hunting in the park I saw 11 bears in 2 days of hunting, that's just not at all normal from an ecological standpoint.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Officials disturbed by behavior of campers and animal, which was killed

Wednesday, August 03, 2005
BY BRIAN T. MURRAY
Star-Ledger Staff

A group of hikers rolled videotape and took photographs as a bear entered their camp at High Point State Park and bit a sleeping counselor, New Jersey wildlife authorities said yesterday as they continued to investigate the incident.

The 19-year-old Pennsylvania counselor, camping with about five other hikers along the Appalachian Trail, suffered raised welts on his left thigh when the 142-pound female bear bit into his sleeping bag around 6:30 a.m. on July 13, authorities said.

Martin McHugh, director of the state Division of Fish and Wildlife, said yesterday that wildlife officials were disturbed by the behavior of the hikers, the boldness of the bear and the fact that the incident was not reported to his office until July 21. It was not until last week that a trap was set at the campsite for the bear, which was captured and killed Friday.

"As soon as the bear entered the camp, the counselors or those in charge should have taken measures to scare it off and not just take photographs and videotape it," said Larry Herrighty, chief of the division's Bureau of Wildlife Management.

The counselor declined medical attention, and the hikers downplayed the bear encounter when they reported it to park rangers, he said.

McHugh added that park employees also "didn't really grasp the seriousness of the incident" because they delayed notifying wildlife authorities for about a week.

Herrighty said his office launched a probe after seeing a photograph that the hikers had faxed to park employees on July 14. Authorities shut the campsite area as they tried to contact the hikers, whom they identified only as Pennsylvania residents.

By early last week, authorities said they obtained enough interviews and videotape to learn that the bitten counselor was lying in a sleeping bag on a tarp, in open air, along with two other teens when the bear entered the camp. Other hikers watched and photographed the bear from a wooden shelter about 30 yards away as it approached their sleeping friends.

The bear at first sniffed a water bottle next to the sleeping counselor, then it bit the counselor's sleeping bag and briefly dragged the counselor. The counselor woke up, and both he and the bear were startled, but the bear bit the bag a second time, authorities said.

At that point, the hikers yelled at the bear, but it remained and investigated a food locker before grabbing a backpack and leaving. Herrighty said the bear showed no signs of fear, and that state biologists knew they captured the right bear on Friday because it had distinguishing marks, including a bald spot on its hind quarters.
 
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He was 19 yrs old, most likey wasted from the night before......"DUDE LOOK IT'S GENTLE BEN, COOL !!!!"
 

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LOL OMG did they ever blow this one out of proportion. I just saw part of the video on the news, the bear walked over to the guy sleeping, sniffed the sleeping bag and tried to grab it,probably smelled food. The guy woke and sat up and the bear backed off staring at him.Thats all they showed but the articles said that the bear grabbed a knapsack and ran off.I really don't see how this could have been classified as a "bear attack"
 
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