HomeOutdoorsNewsPoacher Illegally Kills First Black Bear Documented in New York Wildlife Refuge

Poacher Illegally Kills First Black Bear Documented in New York Wildlife Refuge

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Jared Lloyd/Getty Images)

A poacher recently killed the first alleged black bear in a New York wildlife refuge on Nov. 18. Department of Environmental Conservation officers responded to a report from a K-9 unit that had tracked a wounded bear in New York’s Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.

The K-9 unit was part of a team that had been searching the refuge for hunters illegally using lights to hunt deer. The officers investigated the scene, and then went to the home of the hunter to question him. He admitted to shooting the bear with a compound bow. A search of his home revealed a spike-horn buck, which the suspect did not have the correct tag for. He provided a completed doe tag instead of an antlered tag.

The hunter has outstanding tickets for improperly tagging an antlered deer in New York. DEC officers gave him citations for illegally harvesting a black bear on wildlife refuge property. The citations summon him to federal court for this crime.

Additionally, refuge biologists claim that this bear is likely the first known black bear on the wildlife refuge. DEC officers are donating the body to the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center.

North Carolina Man Faces Steep Charges After Bear Dismemberment

The Woodfin Police Department recently charged a man linked to the gruesome dismemberment of three bears in Woodfin, NC in late November. Police charged John Robert Bunkley, Jr., 26, with 20 different offences. These include three counts of unlawful possession, one count of littering, and three counts of failure to validate.

The damage done to the mother bear and two cubs was extensive. According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the bears’ “paws were removed and left on scene.” Additionally, “there was a bucket present with bear entrails inside.” Woodfin residents found the carcasses on Nov. 25, and a “game warded” investigated the scene on Nov. 30.

The Woodfin Police Department was allegedly not investigating the case, but directed all tips and inquiries to the Wildlife Resources Commission. According to a report from ABC News 10, police did not arrest Bunkley. They did serve him with citations and charges in person, though.

“The community response was incredible,” a spokesperson for NCWRC said in a statement. “And we are appreciative of the information given to Help Asheville Bears that led us to the suspect.”

The investigation also involved the organization Help Asheville Bears. They offered $5,000 to anyone with information that would lead to charges. “HAB is ecstatic,” the organization wrote in a statement. “The whole community is ecstatic. We couldn’t have asked for anything better. People in our area really love our bears. This wasn’t hunting. Hunting, you get one bear per year. This was a mom with two cubs, highly illegal. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do this.”