Bear-proof trash receptacles could lessen need for hunt

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Gov. Phil Murphy has vowed to end New Jersey’s black bear hunt during his term as governor.

Supports of the hunt say it is the only way to keep the bear population down and protect pets and people from bear attacks.

But opponents have stated that there are other ways to control the bear population and keep bears away from people. One such way is to have bear-proof trash receptacles so that bears cannot get into humans’ trash and eat the scraps.

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News 12 New Jersey’s Brian Donohue says that while out traveling in Montana and Wyoming over the summer, he noticed how all the dumpsters and trash cans are designed so that bears cannot open or get into them.

But in New Jersey, there are no such requirements. A Morris County garbage collector tells Donohue that he often sees bears popping out of dumpsters on his route.

Kinnelon butcher shop owner Ralph DePascale says that when bears kept going into his dumpsters, the town did require him to install bear-proof latches.

There have been several bills introduced in recent years in the state Legislature that would require bear-proof containers in areas where the bear population is high.

But opponents argued that the measures were too costly and the bills were never brought to a vote.

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