Big Fines for Shooting Black Bear

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BEACH LAKE – The man responsible for shooting and killing a 550-pound black bear out of season in Wayne County is now forced to pay up.

Pennsylvania Game Commission Officers say William Hazimof of Beach Lake shot a 550-pound black bear along Branning Road outside his home. It later died in the road.

Hazimof is now fined more than $3,000 dollars.

"Oh, that's a big one, so's the fine,” said Harold Russell who was visiting from New York.

According to court papers, Hazimof told game officers he shot the bear outside his home because he wanted to scare the bear out of his yard. Hazimof shot the bear with his .22 caliber rifle.

Ralph Huebner lives near where the big black bear was found dead. The retired New York State Trooper says killing a bear with a .22 isn’t easy.

"Pretty unlikely he had to make a specific shot in a very vital spot in order to hit it because a .22 doesn't have that penetration, doesn't have the impact,” said Huebner.

The man from Beach Lake told officials he wished he never shot at the animal, and that he never meant to kill it. Huebner, who deals with bears at his own home, disagrees.

"I have been a firearms instructor, hunting safety instructor for 31 years, and I never taught anyone to accidentally shoot something, everything is intentional, when you pull the trigger it's intentional,” said Huebner.

But others who live in this area of Wayne County believe Hazimof had every right to shoot the bear.

"I'm not in favor of the animals that much because they cause a lot of grief and trouble around. There's been a lot of people had a lot of stuff torn up and broken up,” said Fred Haase of Damascus Township.

Haase thinks the fine didn’t fit the crime.

"I would say it's very steep, yeah,” said Haase.

While others say intentional or not, Hazimof is lucky he’s not facing any jail time.

"They are a protected animal. It's like shooting a bald eagle,” said Russell.

"If he's only going to pay a $3,000 fine, that's cheap,” said Huebner.

In court papers, Hazimof claims he didn’t know he killed the bear until he was leaving for work the next morning and found it in the road.

Newswatch 16 reached out to him for comment but he did not get back to us.