NJ Man who Shoots 3 Problem Bears gets $4,000+ Fines and Fees

By Dean Weingarten

NJ Man who Shoots 3 Problem Bears gets $4,000+ Fines and Fees
NJ Man who Shoots 3 Problem Bears gets $4,000+ Fines and Fees
Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- In October, 2014, a 76-year-old New Jersey resident shot three problem bears on his property.

One was an adult sow that was on his deck and looking in through his sliding glass door.  The location of the two juvenile bears when they were shot, is disputed, but was either on the deck or close to it.  Bears are more dangerous as they are larding up for the winter hibernation.

Bears that display this level of familiarity with humans, who associate humans with food, are a severe problems waiting to happen.  It is why the conservation community has come up with a well used phrase: A fed bear is a dead bear.

Judge James G. Devine handed down the fines against Robert Ehling on the 28th of January, 2016.  I found the judges attitude a bit disturbing in one particular sense.  He thought that Robert C. Ehling acted as a “vigilante”.  From njherald.com:

ANDOVER TOWNSHIP — A Sparta man was found guilty of illegally killing three bears and possession of a loaded firearm within 450 feet of an occupied dwelling on Thursday and ordered to pay a total of $4,332 in civil penalties and restitution.

The verdict and fines were levied against Robert C. Ehling by Municipal Court Judge James Devine, who called the 76-year-old man’s actions on Oct. 10, 2014, the acts of “a vigilante, usurping the right of the state.”

Wow.  New Jersey is one of the most anti-Second Amendment states in the Union.  They have effectively nullified the Second Amendment if you can be fined for mere possession of a loaded firearm, on your own property, while you are defending your property from bears.

As a matter of policy, bears that exhibit the behaviour of these three should be shot.  They were going to cause a serious problem, sooner or later.

Robert C. Ehling brought part of the legal problem on himself by not reporting the shooting, and by what looked like an attempt to dispose of the bodies.  A police officer, called by neighbors, testified that Ehling was dragging one of the juvenile bears’ body toward a nearby ravine when the officer arrived.

The attempt practically screams of a failure of the “SSS” policy often suggested by Internet commandos – Shoot – Shovel – Shut up. Such a policy is often very difficult to follow in practice. In this case, Ehring seems to have neighbors who dislike him. It is a sad place to find yourself, but many find themselves there. Fortunately, Bob Ehring does not appear to be a pauper. His house in New Jersey is likely paid for, and commands a very nice view. I wish him the best of luck. He may have technically violated the law, but as they say, in some cases, the law is not just, fair, or reasonable. He likely saved some other person a nasty episode with one of those human acclimated bears.

Ehring’s lawyer has recommended an appeal to a state Superior Court.  Ehring appears to be fighting the case on principle; it is hard to believe that the legal costs will be less than the fines involved.

c2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten;

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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Big Bill

A sow with cubs is one of the most dangerous animals you will ever come across. One at your door should truly frighten you.
Broke the law? Yes.
If you are threatened by a thug, do you break the law by assaulting said thug? Yes, as a matter of fact, you do. However, common sense says self defense should rule the day.
I seriously hope you never face prosecutions for all the times you break the law.


And the reason no food US HUMANS have taken over all animals domain I am a gun owner BUT DAMN you great hunters goes way to far & NRA what a joke NICE GOING JUDGE !


Good he deserved it. Stop killing the bears seriously. You know if hunters didn’t BAIT the bears with DONUTS and people food they wouldn’t be looking for food from humans! You know if a bear is a problem by your home, think what you are in the bears home! pfft


Most of the legal ways to try to repel bears are only legal for the state agents. The saying, “When seconds matter, the police are only minutes away” applies here. The ‘possession of a loaded firearm is definitely a 2nd Amendment issues. That would be worth an appeal and support of that appeal by the NRA and other 2nd Amendment organizations. btw. Firecrackers can result in ‘explosive devise’ charges. Those of you who want to demonize this man should volunteer to try to shoo the bears away. It’s a good way to be attacked and mauled. Or at the least,… Read more »


Animals have more rights than people, now. I was fined once for shooting an animal out of season that was destroying things on my property. Since then, if I am hunting and see any endangered animal, I blow it away and walk on. Pay back is hell. When it comes to laws that give animals more rights than humans, these laws and others are meant to be broken. I use to wouldn’t do this but when I don’t have any rights, the animal laws go out the door for me.


I felt like I was reading a story from some country in Europe, not the U.S.A. Disgusting on a myriad of levels. I grieve for the people of New Jersey.


Regarding Municipal Court Judge James Devine’s statement: “…a vigilante, usurping the right of the state.” The People have rights, the state does NOT. The People delegate powers to the state so that the state can protect The People’s rights. This is a basic tenet in our nation’s founding documents and the establishment of the great experiment called the United States of America. This judge has it completely backwards. He is enabling and facilitating the usurpation of the RIGHTS of The People by an oppressive state. Perhaps this judge attends the same seminars and CLEs as that other infamous constitutional scholar… Read more »

Capn Jack

If we replace the word “Bears” with “Armed Prowlers”
would the judgement has been any different?

Winston Smith

Communitarian Communist Scum would prefer you rely upon the monolithic state . And they aren’t just in socialist scum pits like N.J. . Now that they have helped to ruin their own states they are fleeing in droves. We must do our best to make them as unwelcome as possible ,so they leave . The “judge” sounds like he needs attitude adjustment from the citizenry! 🙂


I see we have some totally moronic people spewing stupidity about this incident. I think the man did the RIGHT thing and actually protected his whole neighborhood.
Perhaps he SHOULD use Bear Bait in his neighbor’s yards if they love bears up close that much.
I SHOOT Poisonous Snakes, Possums and raccoons that invade my property, Also squirrels that try to raid my Bird feeders.


To many Washington DC style politics in this state. Sadly NJ has a set of gun laws that will never be reversed until a complete change of elected officials is completed and the new ones are pro 2nd Amendment. (never happen) Until then the taking of bait over to the neighbor is the only correct answer for this guy. I will be watching his next step but he won’t win as killing the cubs was not needed. The upper courts will sob at that and let the case stand on it’s merit. Killing the mother bear with her head inside… Read more »



“…a vigilante, usurping the right of the state.”

States have NO rights. People have rights that the state is supposed to protect. The State has powers delegated to it by The People. This judge has it completely upside down.

With Liberty and Free $peech?,


If the STATE claims OWNERSHIP of animals (bear, deer, cougar, etc) Then just as YOU are responsible for any damage/harm caused by YOUR dog/pet so too is the STATE financially AND criminally responsible for the animals the State CLAIMS AS IT’S PROPERTY.


“The likely hood that humans are going to be injured by female black bears with cubs is so low”

You must be joking. Never, ever get involved with a sow that has cubs. They are THE most dangerous.
And FYI, another NJ man who was hiking was mauled by a black bear not too far from this incident. Black bears kill people every year and that is why they were wiped out in NJ for a long time.


No winners here. The likely hood that humans are going to be injured by female black bears with cubs is so low, based on data collected by bear researchers, that had the home owner done nothing the bears would have moved on. As for NJ gun laws that is another matter. Outdoor gun writers need to stop portraying black bears as excessively dangerous even during hyperphasia–a period of extreme feeding just before winter. I don’t recall the exact numbers in the US, (maybe 20 in the last fifty years) and of those, half were caused by man. In other words,… Read more »


It happened in New Jersey,…nuff said!


it was his property and he dealt with the problem…his mistake was..he went to their rigged court system instead of resisting tyranny on his own property..

john carr

If a bear would ever make its way on my deck or any part of my living space I will make sure he will never do it again.I would do it discreetly. I wouldn’t do it like this man did it. That was plain dumb.


“…the acts of “a vigilante, usurping the right of the state.”
Sorry but the state has no RIGHTS! Only a Living Man has RIGHTS, Not a Corporation.

But the Ignorant People will buy into this BS just like PATRICK above – Because only a Federal or State Dunderhead has the Ability to determine what is or is not a problem bear. We slaves should never even try to make that decision should we.

Your a good slave Patrick – carry on.


Judge needs to step down along with the DA , bears messing with your property kill them. Defense of property a natural right.


The Second Amendment issue came in the “possession of a load firearm within 450 get off a dwelling” charge. Bears are better protected than humans. Black bears risk my own neighborhood and has come within 50 yards of s neighbour’s kids as they played ON THEIR FRONT PORCH. When their father called the authorities b2cause he feared for his family’s safety, they told him he can only take action if the bear attacks his children and he can prove that their lives were in danger. He could not even use bear spray or rubber buckshot. As for this case, the… Read more »


A firecracker would of worked just fine….. idiot in my book…. fine him more


This douchebag broke the law. What made him into a authority to determine these bear were ‘problem’ animals? NONE and he got what he deserved. Furthermore, why does the author feel compelled to turn this into a 2nd amendment issue? Apparently, the man got in trouble for trying to dispose of the evidence and not manning for his actions. Both the Ehling and Weingarten should ashamed of themselves.


Another NRA gun nut. Did you read the writer’s bio?


Judge needs to step down along with the DA , natural law of self defense. Bunch of socialist victim making bureaucrats .


If I lived in New Jersey, after saving my life by killing a bear, I might have burried the “evidence” too. I wonder if the next time this guy has problems with bears that he chooses instead to sneak some bear bait over at the neighbors house so the bears go over there instead. 🙂