In October, 2014, a 76-year-old New Jersey resident shot three problem bears on his property. One was an adult sow that was on his deck and looking in through his sliding glass door. The location of the two juvenile bears when they were shot, is disputed, but was either on the deck or close to it. Bears are more dangerous as they are larding up for the winter hibernation.
Bears that display this level of familiarity with humans, who associate humans with food, are a severe problems waiting to happen. It is why the conservation community has come up with a well used phrase: A fed bear is a dead bear.
Judge James G. Devine handed down the fines against Robert Ehling on the 28th of January, 2016. I found the judges attitude a bit disturbing in one particular sense. He thought that Robert C. Ehling acted as a "vigilante". From njherald.com:
ANDOVER TOWNSHIP -- A Sparta man was found guilty of illegally killing three bears and possession of a loaded firearm within 450 feet of an occupied dwelling on Thursday and ordered to pay a total of $4,332 in civil penalties and restitution.
Wow. New Jersey is one of the most anti-Second Amendment states in the Union. They have effectively nullified the Second Amendment if you can be fined for mere possession of a loaded firearm, on your own property, while you are defending your property from bears.The verdict and fines were levied against Robert C. Ehling by Municipal Court Judge James Devine, who called the 76-year-old man's actions on Oct. 10, 2014, the acts of "a vigilante, usurping the right of the state."
As a matter of policy, bears that exhibit the behaviour of these three should be shot. They were going to cause a serious problem, sooner or later.
Robert C. Ehling brought part of the legal problem on himself by not reporting the shooting, and by what looked like an attempt to dispose of the bodies. A police officer, called by neighbors, testified that Ehling was dragging one of the juvenile bears' body toward a nearby ravine when the officer arrived.
The attempt practically screams of a failure of the "SSS" policy often suggested by Internet commandos - Shoot - Shovel - Shut up.
Ehring's lawyer has recommended an appeal to a state Superior Court. Ehring appears to be fighting the case on principle; it is hard to believe that the legal costs will be less than the fines involved.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Link to Gun Watch