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KenS
03-25-2005, 12:20
Found this in the New Jersey Star Ledger. Thought there might be some interest if New Jersey Fish & Wildlife opens up new seasons for new game.

Only in Jersey...

Hunting and Fishing: Monstrous rumors hit Jersey
Friday, March 25, 2005
BY FRED J. AUN
For the Star-Ledger
New Jersey's wildlife management officials, already tormented by the ongoing controversy surrounding the bear hunt issue, might have another crisis on their hands.

How will they deal with the possible existence of a Garden State Sasquatch?
That's right. A New Jersey version of Bigfoot might be prowling the woods of Sussex County.

Maybe it's not exactly the same as the creature roaming the Pacific Northwest. It might, for example, sport a mullet.

Nevertheless, the existence of something big and predatory -- possibly not of this earth or this millennium -- was recently the subject of an e-mail discussion between some members of the state Fish and Game Council.

Before reading any more, you might want to go online and download some X-Files music to play in the background. Creating the proper atmosphere is important.

On second thought, choose some circus music. Anything silly will do.

The odyssey began last week, when a miniature horse in the Sussex County township of Andover was found missing from its outdoor pen. The mauled and partially-eaten carcass of 250-pound "Phantom" was found at the end of a blood trail leading from its pen to a woodsy hilltop nearby.

Clues at the scene prompted state Division of Fish and Wildlife Biologist Kelcey Burguess to believe Phantom was abducted and killed by a 500-pound black bear. His determination was based, in part, on the existence of 5-inch-wide bear prints found at the scene.

The owner of the horse said she saw a large bear peering into her stalls the next day. Of course, all this is merely circumstantial evidence, at least to the very, very open mind of Fish and Game Council Member Jack Schrier.

In e-mails sent this week to fellow council members and many others, Schrier responded with skepticism to Fish and Wildlife's version of the tragedy.

"So a bear was seen peering into the stalls," he wrote. "Where is the evidence that a bear -- any bear -- killed that mini? I remain unconvinced."

Former council member George Howard responded by suggesting Phantom's murderer was the Abominable Snowman. The frenzy continued when Joe Crouch, who heads the state chapter of Ted Nugent USA, offered his thoughts.

"I agree with Jack," he wrote, "Any number of animals in NJ could have dragged that 250lb pony over and under a few fences and up a steep hill. The fact that there was 5-inch bear prints in the area and along the drag path means nothing."

Callously avoiding political correctness, Crouch wondered if O.J. was in the vicinity. Or, he suggested, "it could have been one of those bloodthirsty local hunters with bear shoes on trying to incriminate the bear. Did anyone check if there were UFO sightings?"

It's too bad Schrier will soon be leaving the council. As hunters are well aware, he is the member who regularly voted against a bear hunt.

The council will need his brand of wisdom when it decides if New Jersey should initiate a season for Chupacabras, Godzillas or Jersey Devils.