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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just heard from the producer and NJN has agreed to air a much improved version of the 7 time award winning "Bears, Too Close For Comfort"

Lynda and Stu have been cut from this verson due to excessive wining.

An air date has not been set yet but you can see it this Saturday at 10:00PM on The Outdoor Channel.

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
From today's NY Times:

Beasts Rearing Up on Two Legs

Published: May 18, 2005
THEY can attack at any moment, appearing as if from nowhere, leaving the victim bloodied and battered if he survives at all. There is no remorse, no mercy, no way to stop the primordial urges once the assault begins.

But enough about the animal rights faithful, let's talk about the black bears of New Jersey.

We jest, of course. The animal rights groups aren't necessarily any more ferociously committed than their armed opponents in muddy camouflage.

"We have science on our side; all they have is fanaticism," said Eric Bunk, who describes himself as Northern New Jersey director of United Sportsmen of America, the group led by rock's wild man, Ted Nugent. "These are people who don't understand that food doesn't originate in Styrofoam packages and who believe meat grows on meat trees."

So maybe the folks at NJN, New Jersey Public Television, should have been more prepared for armed warfare when they decided in January to broadcast a documentary, "Bears: Too Close for Comfort," about bear hunting, an issue that is now as much a New Jersey staple as indicted politicians and greasy diners. Still, about three months after the documentary was withdrawn before it was even shown on the air, both sides are still going at it, a reminder that when it comes to going wild, wildlife has plenty of competition.

Our tale began back in 2002 when Tom Phillips, a filmmaker from Holmdel, and his business partner, Steve Marchand of Manalapan, decided to put together a documentary on the black bears that were increasingly wandering into backyards, swimming pools and living rooms in America's most densely populated state.

Soon to come was a December 2003 hunt that killed 328 bears.

Mr. Phillips said he began the project as an animal lover opposed to hunting. But when the film was completed, Lynda Smith of the antihunt Bear Education and Resource Group in West Milford was appalled, she said. "I told Tom that I watched it in tears," she said. "It's antibear propaganda repackaged in 'Blair Witch' style."

She sent out an urgent appeal to allies to try to torpedo the show. And some people who had been part of it raised factual and technical issues. NJN pulled the show pending further review, saying it did so because of questions about quality and accuracy, not politics.

Now it's back, slightly edited and scheduled to be shown Saturday on the Outdoor Channel, which caters mostly to hunters and fishermen. This time it has a laudatory introduction and postscript by Rick Story, senior vice president of the United States Sportsmen's Alliance, a group that sued the state to allow a second bear hunt last year.

This pleases the hunters (The show runs!) and it pleases the antihunters, who can claim they were right all along. "In a way it vindicates us," said Stuart Chaifetz, one of the antihunting activists. "It's obviously got some kind of bias if you have hunters going on TV to tell other hunters that they need to see it."

MEANWHILE, back at the ranch, there are those bears. No one in New Jersey has ever been killed by a black bear, which is far more likely to run from humans than toward them. Still, that is cold comfort for someone who finds one in the den or backyard, or sees a pet snatched away. Total sightings and nuisance and damage reports so far this year stand at 487 from Jan. 1 to May 9, compared with just 220 for the same period last year. And the fact is that every state that has a significant bear population has a bear hunt, said Brian Bachman, founder of the North American Bear Foundation, a conservation group, who says there really is no alternative to hunting when too many bears live near too many people.

Still, this being New Jersey, the epicenter of antihunting absolutism, the issue isn't likely to go away, especially because NJN now says it will try again. Officials say they now plan to show the documentary around July (without the endorsement from Mr. Story) along with a panel discussion on hunting.

Mr. Phillips admits it's been a godsend for a film that has won several awards but has been given a lukewarm review in The Star-Ledger, which opined: "It plays less like a Fox video exploitation special than a 'Simpsons' parody of one."

"Without the animal rights people, no one would know anything about it," Mr. Phillips said. "They've created a much bigger demand by telling people they couldn't see it."

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Mr. Phillips said he began the project as an animal lover opposed to hunting.
Now that's funny!! I saw the documentary and have to say, it supported a hunting season more than anything else. It had a brief interview with one particular hunter on it that put out sport in a very good light and he needs a hearty pat on the back. At the same time, it had animal rights activists doing what they do best... being idiots.

By the way, if anyone can't get the documentary on The Outdoor Channel, I'll make you a copy... it's still saved on my DVR.
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