Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) officials are seeking leads for an illegally killed black bear that was found in Pointe Coupee Parish.
Wildlife officials said a hunter alerted authorities on Dec. 3 about a dead black bear lying in the woods between the Atchafalaya River and Louisiana Hwy. 1 on property owned by RoyOMartin. RoyOMartin leases this part of their land for hunters.
Officials said they found an adult female black bear weighing about 225 pounds dead from an apparent high powered rifle gunshot wound. LDWF is estimating that the bear was shot and killed late last week between Nov. 28 and Dec. 1.
Officials said a cash reward totaling up to $7,000 is being offered to anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction for this illegal killing of a black bear. RoyOMartin is contributing $1,000 of the $7,000 total reward.
Officials said this is the second bear in a week that was found shot to death. Officials found a dead black bear in Avoyelles Parish on Nov. 27. A $6,000 reward is being offered for help in that case.
"RoyOMartin is in full support of black bear conservation in Louisiana and want to see the person who committed this crime held responsible," said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of LDWF's Enforcement Division. "The department is aggressively working to delist the bear and make a legal hunting season for them, but each illegal killing adds time to when that could happen."
Officials said anyone with information regarding this 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.
The hotline and the tip411 program are monitored 24 hours a day. Tipsters can also remain anonymous.
Officials said 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 $25,000 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. 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.
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.