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Fewer hunters, more bears help boost this year's kill
Less hunters and more bears helped boost the kill early in last week's bear season.

New Jersey's 2003 bear hunt saw 5,450 bear hunting permits issued for a hunt that culled 328 bears from the state's population. This year, 4,434 hunters applied for permits, but not all, including yours truly, were able to hunt bear.

By Friday afternoon, 280 bears had been bagged despite cold and snowy weather that affected the total kill.


http://www.dailyrecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051211/SPORTS/512110332/1002
The state's 70,000 deer hunters, despite being helped by opening day snow, harvested only 1,919 deer, down from the 2,148 killed on last year's weather-hampered opening day of the six-day season. Muzzleloaders get their shot at deer again, starting Monday.
 

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I still think they will surp [no swearing please] last years deer kill. The weather last year was bad all week, this year it was nearly perfect. On Saturday, the check stations in my area had long lines again, so we'll see. Can't get much lower than last year, in fact last years buck week numbers were the lowest since 1978 or 1979.
 

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I couldn't wait for last year to end! It was a bad week! From what I've seen at the check in station and the butcher a lot of deer were being taken... I'm very interested what the final tally will be!
 

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jeeeeezzzeee I can't even remember last year's six day[confused] it must've been crumby!!;)
 

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Jim Stabile/Courier News version! NJH gets a mention again!!! Check out the part about the Big Bear taken on opening day! Way to go Jim!

Less hunters but more bears helped boost the kill during last week's bear season.

By yesterday afternoon, 280 bears had been bagged, despite late week bad weather as well as the smaller number of bear hunters. Two more bears were poached last Monday on Newark Watershed land by a guy without a license and a guy who didn't bring his bear to a check station. The butcher where they brought the bears also will be charged with unlawfully possessing bears. Division of Fish and Wildlife Dirctor Marty McHugh said they were from Central Jersey, "99.9% of hunters wouldn't have done what they did," and called the week-long hunt very successful.

There were 5,450 bear hunting permits issued for the 2003 hunt that culled 328 bears from the state's bear population that grows by 500 to 700 cubs born annually; 4,434 applied for permits this year, but not all permit holders, including yours truly, hunted for bears. The week's total harvest is expected to be on the Division's website by noon today(sunday).

By yesterday afternoon, 280 bears had been bagged, although Friday's snow kept hunters and bears apart. McHugh said the hunt went as planned, "using a conservative approach in a scientific, definitive manner." He noted killing nuisance bears wasn't the primary goal of the hunt. He told reporters we don't have "deep woods bears" in New Jersey, and that scat from bears far from houses had birdseed and garbage in it.

The hunt will limit the bear population from spreading further downstate and cut incidents like the 28 times bears broke into homes this year(as of Nov. 1), the 20 attempted breaks, the killing of 19 livestock, attacking dogs and even biting someone. Bears broke into 55 homes in 2002, the year before the last bear hunt. Some hunters enjoyed our bear season that had to be won in court, as usual.

"The whole experience was awesome," said Bill Weir, 40, of Lake Hopatcong, who shot his first bear at 3:15 p.m. Monday afternoon about two miles from home. "I didn't have a chance to get 'buck fever'. As soon as I saw his right shoulder when he came out of the swamp about 40 yards away I fired one shot, he ran about 30 yards and dropped."

Bill knew the area, his trail camera had taken pictures of bears at night, and Monday morning he had seen bear tracks heading into the swamp. He was less than 200 yards off Route 15, a highway whose traffic takes a toll of crossing bears.

"There are bear problems all over, but I wanted to hunt my own town, provide this service for the community," said Bill, who regularly attends the meetings of the Sussex County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs.

After he killed the bear, the "fun" began, the hard work of getting the carc [no swearing please] out of the woods to the Flat Brook checking station and then to the butcher's. Anyone who's bagged a bear can tell you it's not easy getting it to the road. Bill and three other guys used his ice-fishing toboggan to slide the bear out. McHugh said Monday that one bear was taken out of the woods by putting it in a flat-bottom jon boat.

Field-dressing the bear, Bill was surprised to see it had a three-inch layer of fat, which makes the job tougher for the butcher who was to charge at last $150 turning the bruin into sausages and cuts of meat. The bear would have weighed 400 to 430 pounds before field-dressing reduced it to 350 pounds.

There were no problems at Flat Brook(checking station), nobody demonstrating, said Bill, who saw a 500-pound bear that was weighed in was an old one with "teeth worn down to nubs." The biggest first-day field-dressed bear weighed 603 pounds at Flat Brook, weighed an estimated 725 before. It as taken by a Newton hunter. Photos of it spread out and facing a pickup's tailgate, plus other bears, are on the newjerseyhunter.com website. Click on "New Jersey Hunting," then "go," then "bear" and scroll.

The state's 70,000 deer hunters, despite the snow that helped for opening day, harvested only 1,919, down from the 2,148 killed on last year's weather-hampered opening day of the six-day season. Looks like our total kill for the week may be down. Muzzleloaders get their shot at deer again, starting tomorrow. A tv reporter at the Whittingham Wildlife Management Area bear check station yesterday said he saw three rack bucks walking in the no-hunting zone.

Being on hard water may not yet be the safest place to be, but ice fishermen have been inching onto some ponds and lake coves.
Photos of it spread out and facing a pickup's tailgate, plus other bears, are on the newjerseyhunter.com website. Click on "New Jersey Hunting," then "go," then "bear" and scroll.
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