Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kentucky: Deer Hunter In Harlan County Shoots Bear

Harlan County, Kentucky

From WKYT of October 23, 2008
Deer Hunter In Harlan County Shoots Bear

A deer hunter in Harlan County fatally shot a black bear with his muzzleloader after the animal came too close to his hunting blind last Saturday morning.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Conservation Officer Shane Amburgey determined the hunter, 30-year-old Bobby Koger of Cumberland, acted in self-defense due to the proximity of the bear. “He said the bear came right to his blind and almost stuck his head inside when he shot it,” Amburgey said. “We found blood from the bear within a foot of the blind.”

A blind is a type of camouflaged tent used by hunters to conceal themselves from game.
No charges were filed in the case. Another hunter at the scene, 31-year-old James Forester of Cumberland, shot the bear a second time, in an attempt to protect his friend. Investigators found the dead 250-pound male black bear approximately 700-800 yards away. The incident occurred around 9 a.m. Oct. 18 on Black Mountain, located near Gap Branch in northeastern Harlan County.

Wildlife Biologist Steven Dobey, black bear program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, said bears rarely approach people in such a direct manner unless they smell food. Amburgey said Koger did not have food inside the blind with him.

“It is likely this bear was investigating the blind out of pure curiosity,” Dobey said.
Koger told investigators that he initially saw two bears in the clearing that he was hunting. Koger said one of the bears started trotting toward him when he started yelling at Forester, who was asleep at a gas well approximately 50 yards away, according to Koger’s statement.

Koger said he started yelling at the bear, but it did not stop coming. Koger told investigators he shot the bear from 3 feet away. Forester told Amburgey that the bear came back to its feet after the shot and tried to get inside the blind. Forester said he shot the bear and it ran away. The second bear did not approach the hunters.

“The fact that yelling did not deter the bear from approaching the blind suggests it likely did not recognize the concealed hunter as a person,” Dobey said. “Given the location of the incident, however, it is also possible this bear had lost its fear of people.”


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