Un-bear-able: Did NJ hunters kill Pedals the Bear?!?
Fans of Pedals the Bear — a Garden State bruin who walks around on his two hind legs — are worried sick that a bow hunter may have killed the state's most famous black bear.
Messages posted on the Pedals support group on Facebook and elsewhere claim that a hunter this week bragged about shooting Pedals in the ongoing bow-and-arrow bear hunt season.
But so far, New Jersey 101.5 has been unable to confirm that news.
State Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna could not tell Wednesday if Pedals was one of the 15 black bears brought to Morris County weigh stations on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, 75 bears were killed during the black bear bow hunt, bringing the total to 281, according to the DEP’s count.
Pedals walks on his hind legs as a result of injured front paws. He was been spotted a few times in June after an absence of several months, according to a Facebook page dedicated to updating the public on Pedals sightings and his condition.
Pedals was first spotted last August and New Jerseyans took to him because of his unusual, human-like gait. The NJDEP believes he may have wounded his paws after being hit by a car. Pedals left front paw is injured and he appears to be missing part of his right front leg.
Supporters tried to raise money to relocate Pedals to the Orphaned Wildlife Center in Otisville, New York.
Center spokeswoman Kerry Clair on Wednesday said it would be "horrific" if Pedals were to be killed by a hunter.
"I really hope that it's not true," Clair told New Jersey 101.5.
Wednesday is the last day that bow hunters will have the hunt all to themselves. Muzzle loaded rifles will be allowed starting Thursday.