Bear Didn't Hurt 2 NJ Boys: Official

Friday, Aug 5, 2011  |  Updated 11:53 AM EDT
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Bear Didn't Hurt 2 NJ Boys: Official

AP

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The bear was falsely accused.

A black bear that wandered into a campsite in a northwestern New Jersey state forest did not injure two young campers Wednesday, as authorities first claimed.

Fish and Wildlife Division Assistant Director Larry Herrighty told the New Jersey Herald of Newton Thursday that hospital officials concluded the abrasions found on the 11- and 12-year-old boys were not caused by a bear.

The youths were with a group of nine campers and two counselors sleeping in tents in the Stokes State Forest in Sussex County when the bear entered their campsite around 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Herrighty said the bear tried to get into two tents before wandering off. It later was shot in the neck by a ranger, but ran away and has not been caught.

Despite the exoneration, a wildlife official told the New Jersey Star-Ledger they still considered the creature an aggressive "Category One Bear" and were hunting it with baited bacon and boysenberry-scented traps.

"If we did encounter the bear, we would shoot and kill it," Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Ragonese told the Ledger.

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