Bear season in New Jersey doesn’t start for another two months, but state officials are already trying to whet people’s appetites for the other red meat. According to the New York Times, officials are hoping that hunters will try their hands at bagging a bear. In previous years, the state has had difficulty getting people to participate in the very short bear season—just six days—which New Jersey reinstituted in 2010 as black bear populations were growing.
This year, the season runs from December 8 to 13, and New Jersey officials are hoping that licensed hunters will take more than the 251 bears that were killed last year. The state is even handing out recipe books to people who bring in a bear and who might not be familiar with cooking ursine meat. It's supposedly very tasty (unless the bear has been eating a lot of fish), and besides the state-endorsed cookbook, would-be bear eaters should be able to find plenty of other culinary advice.
Why the push for bear population reduction? Bears, particularly black bears, tend to avoid humans, but in recent years an increasing number of encounters between them and us sometimes have had deadly results, on both sides. Last month, a Rutgers student was killed by a black bear, and last week, a black bear cub was found dead in Central Park.