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Bear shot, killed and 3 cubs die from exposure

February 04, 2006|By TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

HANCOCK -

Authorities removing the carcass of a 250-pound black bear found shot in a den off Woodmont Road near Hancock also discovered three dead cubs, which apparently died from exposure, Maryland Natural Resources Police said Friday.

A "concerned citizen" found the dead bear on Jan. 26 in what's known as the 1,000-acre area of the Woodmont Rod and Gun Club and reported the incident, police said in a written statement.

An investigation revealed the bear was shot point-blank in the head with a shotgun three days earlier. The dead cubs were two to three weeks old.

"She was in her winter den and probably would've stayed there until about mid-March and then emerge with the cubs," said Paul Peditto, director of Wildlife and Heritage Services for the Department of Natural Resources.

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The bear was in a "typical den position" when found, he said.

Sgt. Ken Turner said by phone Friday a 17-year-old Hancock boy was a suspect in the shooting and that the investigation was nearly complete. The case will be turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice, he said.

Peditto called the incident "a tragic waste of wildlife resources."

"Wanton destruction of Maryland's wildlife violates the ethical burden each hunter takes with him or her when heading afield," according to the statement from police.

Police recommended in the statement that anyone who encounters a bear in the woods, including a sow and cubs, back away slowly and leave the bear alone.

"Lethal measures of self-defense are usually not necessary," according to the statement.

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