Bearzilla The Great Calls NJ Home

The Garden State – it’s home to Bruce, Bon Jovi, Berra, and now we have a humongous 762-pound hulk, “Bearzilla” living near West Milford. From The Star Ledger:

“That is just its spring weight. It only recently left a winter den … Wait until it feeds all summer to fatten up for denning this fall. It could get over 900 pounds,” said Len Wolgast, a member of the state Fish and Game Council and former wildlife biology professor.
The bear was trapped and tranquilized, along with another bear, on Saturday. A third male bear was trapped in the same area Monday.

Bearzilla who outweighs the average black bear by up to 500 pounds, was treated for a nose injury, marked with identifying tags, released into its habitat, and asked not to come back…

Rather than kill the bears, however, officials tried to put the fear of humans into them. The bears were released from the trap and fired at with rubber buck-shot and firecrackers in a bid to make them fearful of human contact.
“It was done right in the area where they were caught so they would know that to be an area to avoid,” Herrighty said.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. Are they sure it wasn’t actually Ted Mattox?
    Did they find a abandoned Porsche with Massachusetts plates near where they located the “bearzilla”?
    If so, they need to notify his kin in Montclair to come and identify him and of course the car.

  2. “…now we have a humongous 762-pound hulk, “Bearzilla” living near West Milford.”
    No problem. Just send MeMe out there, and that bear will be down to a svelte 40-long in no time.

  3. I can only hope that Bearzilla “meets” some of the developers who are tearing up its habitat to make room for McMansions.
    Then gets away.

  4. “…now we have a humongous 762-pound hulk.”
    Are you sure it’s not just someone’s missing kid?

  5. Don’t feel sorry for Ted Mattox, he’ll reappear and sue someone else.
    His litigious appetite is voracious.
    I’m just surprised that they found him so far afield from his home base in Montclair.

  6. I doubt that this bruin attained his prodigious size through a typical bear diet.
    Like the bear I spotted many years ago in PA (must have been about 400 lbs) this guy has been dining on ‘human’ food, has grown fond of it, and will be back for more, soon.
    When I told the campsite proprietor about the bear that walked through the campground, he grabbed a rifle and said “What site # are you at? That’s a ‘nuisance’ bear that has been toppling dumpsters”. I was aghast and felt somewhat responsible for ‘ratting’ the bear out. I asked the guy later if they found the bear and he said no, much to my relief.
    Later that evening as the sun was going down and my wife and I were reassuring each other that there was no way that the bear could pose any harm to us, we were, at the same time, constantly scanning the woods for any sign of his return. Later, when it was time to turn in for the night, we abandoned our tent and slept, instead, in the back of my pickup truck. About midnight, after we had finished the last of our dinner of peanut M&Ms our dog, Star, started to bark furiously. OMG, the bear had returned for a midnight snack. We encouraged Star to continue to bark and when we looked outside, we saw a skunk waddle through the site. It took us about 20 minutes to stop laughing – you know that slightly ‘mad’ laughter with more than a small amount of hysteria mixed in…

  7. In the late ’80s I spent a year or so living full-time in a ski house in Thornton, NH, backed up against a huge segment of the White Mountains National Forest. My house was on the side of a hill above which was wilderness and below which (and up the road about a mile) was the Campton/Thornton town dump. The bears used my driveway as a shortcut on their pre-dinner stroll, and many times they would stop along the way and have an hors d’oeuvre or two from my garbage cans. When this happened, the garbage cans were usually no longer usable, since they could crush a 30-gallon, galvanized steel garbage can with the ease that the Iceman shows when he crushes an empty Pabst can against his forehead. Finally, I got tired of this, and I used all my country-boy savvy (I was born in the Bronx and saw my first tree at four or five), and I moved the garbage cans into the mud room of the house each evening. Big frikkin’ mistake, which I found out when the bears broke the door down and ransacked the entire place. I had gone away for a couple of days and forgotten to do a dump run or to put the cans back outside. After that , I started shooting at them with a 20-gauge skeet gun loaded with rock salt and a short round of powder. Didn’t hurt them, just scared the living crap (literally) out of them. Eventually, they went elsewhere for their pre-prandial snacks. It got so dangerous to be at the dump near dusk, that the town finally closed it. At that time they were putting in one condo development after another (Waterville Valley Ski Area), so the bears had plenty of dumpsters to visit. So sad — but over the next few years a lot of “trouble” bears were killed for no other reason than doin’ what came naturally.

  8. Good story Conan. You ever go to Yosemite? Upon arrival, visitors are greeted with a stern lecture on bear safety. The bears there open cars as easily as we pop the top on a Bud. They get their claws into the top of the door frame and just peel the door right off of the vehicle. Even a bottle of shampoo or any kind of fragrant substance will encourage the bear to get into the car.

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