BEAR CREEK TOWNSHIP – Authorities said a 650-pound black bear found dead over the weekend was killed illegally in Luzerne County.
Neighbors thought that bear had been hit and killed by a car, but Pennsylvania Game Commission officials said an examination now shows that the trophy class black bear was illegally killed out of season.
Law Enforcement Supervisor Mark Rutkowski told Newswatch 16 that the bear suffered a lethal injury to the spine sometime Friday night or Saturday morning, and wandered onto a front yard where it died.
"A projectile from an elevated platform or position, from what we can understand, which dictates the massive damage and the internal injuries,” said Rutkowski. "People could be looking at anything from a misdemeanor to a felony, and also restitution; replacement costs up to $5,000 for this animal.”
Officals said the animal was discovered near Laurel Run Road in Bear Creek Township.
Jason Bawiec lives near the property where the dead bear was found, and said neighbors were upset to hear that the trophy class animal had been killed illegally.
"It`s a beautiful creature. It has no reason to be taken out of season. They don`t get that big overnight. That`s a long time, a lot of growth,” said Bawiec. “It’s awful. You have more than enough opportunity if you want to go for a bear, deer, and turkey, whatever; just wait.”
Anyone with information of the illegal bear killing can call the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Northeast Regional Office near Dallas at 570-675-1143.
Officials said calls we be kept confidential and the person that provides information that leads to an arrest and conviction could be eligible for a reward.