NEWTON, N.J. (AP) — Hunters who bring in a bear to be weighed in New Jersey once the season starts will receive a cookbook that includes such recipes as “bear on a satay stick” and “grilled bear loin with brown sugar paste” to remind them that the animals are edible.
The state isn't necessarily trying to get more people to cook bear. Rather, it wants more people to hunt bears as it deals with the growing population, The New York Times reported.
New Jersey reintroduced bear hunting in 2010, but the number of bears killed and brought in to weigh stations has dropped significantly since that first year. Just 251 bears were brought in to weigh stations in 2013, a 58 percent drop from 2010.
The newspaper reported that hunting hasn't proven to be an effective management tool, in part because bear hunting tends to be a one-time event for people. The process can be expensive and hauling the bear out of the woods can be difficult.
The state has seen a rise in bear encounters among humans this year. Authorities receive more than 50 calls a week about bear sightings and nuisance bears, the newspaper reported. That was evident when a 299-pound bear killed a Rutgers University student who was hiking with friends in Passaic County last month, the first fatal bear mauling recorded in state history.
Officials have euthanized more than 75 bears this year for breaking into houses or destroying livestock and crops.
“We never hit more than 32 in a single year,” Kelcey Burguess, principal biologist for the state's Division of Fish and Wildlife, told the newspaper.
Information from: The New York Times, www.nytimes.com