Deer Hunters Kill Bear in Self-Defense

Two Kentucky deer hunters have been cleared of charges after they shot and killed
a 250-pound male black bear. A story in chatanooga.com revealed
the bear may have only been curious, but given its unusual behavior the hunters had
only a split-second to make a decision. The decision they made was to err on the safe
side — that’s when they pulled the trigger:

“…investigators have ruled that the hunter was justified shooting the animal in
self defense after the animal came too close to his hunting blind last Saturday morning.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Conservation Officer Shane Amburgey said, ‘The bear came
right to his blind and almost stuck his head inside when he shot it. We found blood
from the bear within a foot of the blind.’

No charges were filed in the case.

Another hunter at the scene, 31-year-old James Forester of Cumberland, shot the bear
a second time, in an attempt to protect his friend. Investigators found the dead 250-pound
male black bear approximately 700-800 yards away. The incident occurred around 9 a.m.
Oct. 18 on Black Mountain, located near Gap Branch in northeastern Harlan County.

Wildlife Biologist Steven Dobey, black bear program coordinator for the Kentucky Department
of Fish and Wildlife Resources, said bears rarely approach people in such a direct
manner unless they smell food. Amburgey said Koger did not have food inside the blind
with him.

‘It is likely this bear was investigating the blind out of pure curiosity,’ Dobey
said.

Koger told investigators that he initially saw two bears in the clearing that he was
hunting. Koger said one of the bears started trotting toward him when he started yelling
at Forester, who was asleep at a gas well approximately 50 yards away, according to
Koger’s statement.

Koger said he started yelling at the bear, but it did not stop coming. Koger told
investigators he shot the bear from 3 feet away. Forester told Amburgey that the bear
came back to its feet after the shot and tried to get inside the blind. Forester said
he shot the bear and it ran away. The second bear did not approach the hunters.

‘The fact that yelling did not deter the bear from approaching the blind suggests
it likely did not recognize the concealed hunter as a person,’ Dobey said. ‘Given
the location of the incident, however, it is also possible this bear had lost its
fear of people.’

Dobey noted that the bear was shot less than a mile from an open dumpster site where
bears have been feeding throughout the summer. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife officials
suspect people have been feeding the bears as well, causing the animals to lose their
fear of humans.

‘This is a perfect example of how irresponsible actions of people in one area create
problems for people in another area,’ he said.”