HomeOutdoorsNewsPennsylvania Wildlife Officials Arrest Hunter for Illegally Killing Black Bear With His Child’s Tags

Pennsylvania Wildlife Officials Arrest Hunter for Illegally Killing Black Bear With His Child’s Tags

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Officials with the Pennsylvania Game Commission arrested a hunter last month after he illegally killed a black bear. The man faces further charges as he tried to credit his child with the kill.

WTAJ reports the man, 46-year-old Joseph Blessel of Saint Marys, illegally shot the black bear with his crossbow on Saturday, October 15th. He then tried to use his child’s harvest tag to have the animal processed. Wildlife officials responded after they received notification that a black bear had been killed by a juvenile in Elk County. By the time they arrived, experts found that the time at which the license was purchased versus the time in which the animal was killed did not match up.

PA Game Commission officials arrived to investigate the report of the dead black bear at 11:10 a.m. on October 15th. Blessel initially told the responding wildlife experts that the bear had been shot at 10:45 a.m. Reports state that the juvenile’s license had been purchased at 7:31 a.m. that same day.

Given the time between the kill and officials’ response time, the bear should have maintained a warm internal body temperature. However, officials found that the bear supposedly killed by Blessel’s child was cold.

After pointing out their findings to the hunter, Blessel admitted to killing the black bear himself. He also admitted to purchasing his child’s hunting license following the kill. He admitted that he had illegally baited the animal with apples and corn, which is also illegal in PA.

Blessel Faces Handfuls of Criminal Charges After Illegally Killing Black Bear

Based on officials’ preliminary findings, the Pennsylvania hunter has already broken a handful of laws. However, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for December 20th, they’ve officially listed the criminal charges he’s facing.

Per the news outlet, the 46-year-old hunter faces two taking/killing big game beyond daily/seasonal limits, hunting without a secure license, use of artificial/natural bait, and lend a license/kill tag. It’s likely he’ll face further charges after the initial hearing.

Thinking back to the bear’s body temperature at the time Game Commission officials arrived, we’re curious just how long the bear had been dead before Blessel, or another individual, called in the report.

In the Commonwealth, the news outlet states hunters that harvest a bear are required to report their kills and have it brought to a check station at least 24 hours after initially taking the animal. At the time of the check, the hunter must also get their harvest tag verified. This is so officials can prove the hunter used the proper tag.

Unfortunately, Blessel is not the only American hunter to have killed a black bear illegally this season. Last week, two adult hunters and a juvenile out of Louisiana were cited after illegally taking a black bear out of season.