AVOYELLES PARISH, KPLC - Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials are seeking leads for an illegally killed black bear that was found in Avoyelles Parish.
Officials in a Wednesday news release said that a hunter alerted authorities on Nov. 27 about a dead black bear laying on an all-terrain vehicle trail on Avoyelles Parish School Board property located 20 miles northwest of Marksville.
LDWF and USFWS officials reportedly arrived on scene and found a male black bear, approximately two years old and weighing about 100 pounds, dead from an apparent gunshot wound.
LDWF is estimating that the bear was shot and killed earlier in the day on Nov. 27.
Anyone with information regarding illegal bear killing should call the Louisiana Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or use LDWF's tip411 program. To use the tip411 program, citizens can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone app from the Apple App Store free of charge.
Officials said the hotline and the tip411 program are monitored 24 hours a day. Cash rewards up to $1,000 are offered for information leading to the apprehension of individuals involved in this crime. Tipsters can also remain anonymous.
"We have solved cases like this in the past with the public's help and we are again asking for any leads that might assist us in this investigation," said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division."
According to officials, the Louisiana black bear has been listed on the Federal Threatened and Endangered Species List since 1992. Citizens are reminded that killing a Louisiana black bear is a violation of both state law and the federal Endangered Species Act. Violators are subject to penalties of up to $50,000 and six months in jail. In addition, a restitution fine of $10,000 for the bear may be imposed on anyone convicted of killing a black bear in Louisiana.
With the number of bear and hunter interactions on the rise within the last couple of years, LDWF encourages hunters to carry bear spray and know a few simple rules. If possible, a hunter encountering a bear should back away and proceed in another direction. Officials say if a bear approaches, you should raise your arms over your head to appear larger and speak in a normal tone of voice to let the bear know you are there. If the bear continues to approach, wave your arms and yell at the bear. At this point, a hunter could use bear spray to deter the bear's approach, officials say.
Hunters should also be aware that baiting deer with corn artificially concentrates bears near deer stands. It is recommended that hunters either refrain from using corn for bait or use soybeans to reduce bear feeding activity. Bear encounters can be reported to 1-800-442-2511.