By Eugenia Jones
A Marshes Siding resident has been charged in violation of KRS 150.390(1), Illegal take/pursue Bear, a Class A Misdemeanor, after he allegedly unlawfully, intentionally or wantonly shot and killed an underweight female bear cub with a .22 caliber rifle, while the bear was determined to be walking away from the location.
According to Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife (KDFW), a KDFW officer received a call from McCreary County dispatch stating that a man called to report shooting a black bear in his back yard. Upon arrival of KDFW at the man’s residence, the man told KDFW that the bear was in his yard where his dog was tied up and kids were playing. The man alleged the bear pawed the ground and made a “weird” noise while facing the dog. The man stated he fired a single round into the wood line to run the bear off but was unsuccessful. According to KDFW, the man then shot all rounds in his magazine at the bear. After finding the bear, KDFW determined the bear was an underweight female bear cub. The bear had been shot in the back of the leg and head, showing the bear was turned away at the time it was struck.
“Often, things like this happen because there are misconceptions about bears,” KDFW Officer Joseph Braden said. “In this case, it was an underweight cub about six months old that appears to have been running away from the location. The gentleman could have continued to scare the bear, but he should have called us before shooting it. There was no sign of the mother.”
A trial date has been set for October.
Officer Braden reminds residents to be proactive in preventing nuisance bears.
“Never dump food scraps near your home,” Braden cautioned. “Bears are looking for food, and scraps are just an easy meal for them.”
Residents in bear areas can do more than just keeping garbage secure and not dumping scraps. Other suggestions for making an area less attractive to bears include:
-Only feeding outside pets what they will eat at one sitting, and not leaving pet food out overnight.
– Removing birdfeeders in spring and summer. Birds have plenty of natural foods available at that time of year.
-Keeping grills clean and changing drip pans frequently.
-Surrounding beehives with an electric fence, an effective bear deterrent.
-Keeping distance from bears. Do not approach them.
Remember, feeding a bear is against the law in Kentucky. Call 1-800-25-ALERT if you spot someone feeding a bear. The same phone number can be used to report the poaching of bear.