Georgia Hunter Accused of Illegally Killing Bear by Luring It With Bait

by Chris Haney

Last weekend, law enforcement officials in Georgia were tipped off about a hunter illegally killing a black bear by luring it with bait. The accused now faces steep fines and possible jail time if convicted.

White County local John Wesley Dowdy is suspected of luring the bear with bait, which is illegal in Georgia. The law states that hunters are not allowed to use bait to lure the animals to a certain area. The law says that baiting “gives or might give a hunter an unnatural advantage when hunting bear,” according to Georgia State Code.

Law enforcement officers that work for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources are investigating the incident. Game wardens seized the bear from Dowdy and the DNR said he’s been charged with killing the bear using illegal bait. Since then, game wardens have filed a lesser charge against the hunter. DNR Law Enforcement Division spokesperson Mark McKinnon spoke with local outlet Now Habersham about the incident.

“Both charges can apply,” McKinnon explained. “But the game wardens chose to charge him with the lesser violation of hunting big game over bait.”

The charges carry a maximum fine of $1,000 and a maximum sentence of one year in jail. In Georgia, to legally hunt bears, hunters are required to maintain a hunting license. They must also have a big game permit and a bear tag issued under the hunter’s name. The state’s 2022-23 bear hunting season lasts from September 10 through January 8.

Additionally, the outlet reported that DNR officials processed the bear’s meat and are donating it to families in need of food.

Canadian Hunter Takes Down Enormous 500+ Pound Black Bear

Last month, a hunter in Saskatchewan, Canada took down an enormous 500-plus-pound black bear using legal bait. Unlike the hunter in Georgia, regulated baiting is legal in parts of Canada.

In August, a group of hunters first spot the gigantic bear in the wilderness of Saskatchewan. The hunters in the video look on in awe of the large animal as it wanders around the bait site. A few days later, a different hunter named Nick sits in the same tree stand in hopes of seeing the same huge bear.

Nick’s patience paid off as he encountered the huge bruin when it came back to the baited area. The bear comes in for the bait, but he quickly exited into the brush at first. However, the hunter stayed put and the big guy eventually made his way back to the bait. During his wait, a younger bear amusingly tried to climb up the tree where the hunter sat on the stand. After scaring off the young animal, the larger bruin came back and offered Nick the perfect shot.

According to SaskAdrenaline, the black bear was over eight feet tall and weighed more than 500 pounds. Following the successful hunt, it took four grown men to move the huge kill onto a trailer. The hunters may go the rest of their lives without seeing a black bear that size ever again. It was a once-in-a-lifetime hunt indeed.