Some rude intruders are invading farmlands and causing quite a ruckus – along with strange-looking formations. But if you’re thinking we need to call in Agents Mulder and Scully, hold on for just a second. While the damaging marks look quite similar to alien-formed crop circles, they’re actually caused by the area’s critters. In fact, some greedy bears and deer are responsible for the mess.
If it seems a bit silly, the issue is actually anything but – just ask Phil Brodhecker, a farmer in Sussex County, New Jersey. The farmer owns nearly 1,000 acres of farmland and is accusing the animals of literally eating his profits. Whether it’s a bear chomping down on some corn and then rolling around in the crops for a good nap, or some unruly deer stealing grain, the damages are costly.
“They (deer) come through now. The bears will come in when the seeds ripen later,” he explained.
While it seems innocent enough, the damage is actually very expensive, Brodhecker says. The farmer usually sells his product to local stores and other nearby establishments. But as each animal invades his farmland, he’s losing $400 to $500 per acre in damages. The photos can be viewed courtesy of the New Jersey Herald, here.
The issue crosses over with another factor in New Jersey right now – the state has canceled its bear hunting season for the first time in 10 years. Brodhecker is a member of the state’s Fish and Game Council and believes the area has too many bears and deer.
No Bear Hunting Season in New Jersey This Year
However, due to an expired bear management policy, hunters will not be able to help control the state’s population this year.
“No black bear hunt may occur without a properly-promulgated CBBMP proposed by the New Jersey Fish and Game Council and approved by the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection,” the post stated.
Additionally, the state banned hunting before the 1970s when the bear population significantly decreased. It opened back up in recent years when the black bear population skyrocketed and the animals came into too close contact with humans. Their management is super important in an area like New Jersey, the farmer said.
“There’s the issue, there’s still too much un-huntable land. You can’t hunt within 450 feet of a house,” he said. “We are surrounded by developments and lake communities. There are thousands of acres, un-hunted,” he said.
Brodhecker explains this will only hurt farming communities as the state’s population of bears hovers around 2,500. The density of the state makes human-animal contact that much more likely.
“What they knock down, we can’t harvest,” Brodhecker said.
Despite protecting his land with fences and other barriers, Brodhecker says the animals are smart. And they figure out loopholes.
“But (the deer) have learned. They’ll come right down the driveway to get around the fence,” he said.