Issues Summons to Hunter for Illegally Claiming Bear Killed
on Side of Road
(03/185) TRENTON -- Concluding
an investigation, the New Jersey Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) today announced that Steven Meyer of Highland
Lakes was issued a summons by the Division of Fish and Wildlife
for illegally claiming a bear that was killed by a motor
vehicle Tuesday, December 9, 2003 on Route 23, West Milford
As Mr. Meyer admitted to DEP conservation
officers, at approximately 5:45 a.m. on the morning of December
9, he saw a bear on Rt. 23 and then proceeded to drag the
dead bear off the road and onto a snow bank. Mr. Meyer then
said that he contacted his wife and asked her to drive to
the location and wait by the bear so that he could return
home and retrieve his hunting permit. When asked what happened
to the bear, Mr. Meyer's wife told pedestrians and the West
Milford Police that the bear had been killed by her husband
and she was waiting for his return to retrieve it.
At approximately 7:25 a.m., Mr. Meyer returned
with his bear permit and illegally took possession of the
road-killed bear. Mr. Meyer later contacted the Division
of Fish and Wildlife's Northern Region Law Enforcement Office,
indicating that he had hunted and recovered a bear late
in the day and would not be able to check it in until Wednesday.
On Wednesday, December 10, Mr. Meyer took
the road-killed bear to the check station at Wawayanda State
Park, and checked the bear using his permit.
As a result of conflicting stories regarding
the bear killed on Route 23, DEP conservation officers initiated
an investigation with the assistance of West Milford Police.
The bear was recovered by the DEP from Mr. Meyer and was
examined by a state pathologist on December 19 and 22. Tests
and physical observations of the head and skin indicated
damage and injuries consistent with an animal that had been
struck by a motor vehicle.
During the bear hunt, when a bear was brought
to a mandatory check station, DEP biologists examined the
animal to ensure that it was killed with a legal weapon,
which included the use of a muzzle loader or a shotgun firing a rifled slug but not buck shot. The bear checked by Mr. Meyer had a chest wound
that appeared to have been made by a muzzle loader.
When Mr. Meyer was re-interviewed by conservation
officers as part of the investigation, he admitted that
before he brought the bear to the check station, he shot
it with a muzzle loader. Mr. Meyers was issued a summons
for taking a bear by other than a legal means, which is
only allowed in a hunt established under the New Jersey
game code. If he pleads guilty, he is subject to a $100
penalty under the law.
The West Milford Police received the first
report of a dead bear on Route 23 at approximately 5:00
a.m. in the morning of December 9. The bear weighed approximately