Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pennsylvania: Game Commission deems a black bear shooting justified

South Huntingdon, Pennsylvania

From the Pittsburg Tribune-Review of June 27, 2008
Game Commission deems a black bear shooting justified

A South Huntingdon man was within his legal rights when he shot a black bear on his property Tuesday evening, according to a representative of the state Game Commission.

Rod Ansell, a wildlife conservation officer with the commission's southwest region office, said Thursday that the shooting in the Turkeytown area was justified.

The bear was trying to get to a deer the man keeps penned on his property, Ansell said. The shooter's name was not released.

Bears have been spotted in Jeannette, Hempfield, North Huntingdon and other areas this spring and summer, Ansell said.

He said the commission and area police departments advise people who see a bear on or near their property to make sure their garbage cans are tightly closed, to take in their pets' food bowls and to remove bird feeders.

"And the bear will go on about its business," Ansell said.

The bear sightings tend to be of young males who have been kicked out by their mothers and who are trying to establish their own territory.

Their noses, and sense of smell, "are exceptional," Ansell said.

Anyone spotting a bear should report it to the game commission, he said.

But unless a bear becomes a problem and causes damage, he said, setting a trap may not be beneficial because it's difficult to predict its return.

"It's like hunting a needle in a haystack ," he said.

"Lots of times people really like the bears," he added.

Ansell said he received several calls about the shooting, and some people were concerned about a sow and cub also reported to be in the area.

"That gentleman called me right away," Ansell said of the property owner. "He did it (shooting) very reluctantly."

"If he had been in violation, I'd have issued him a citation," Ansell said.

The commission took custody of the bear, as is mandatory in cases of property protection, he said.

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