With regard to the destruction of the “Wedgewood” black bear on Saturday, Aug. 22, I am sickened by the results.
At one time I was an avid hunter and still am an avid shooter. This black bear was identified in the area a week prior to its destruction. So I have several questions which were not answered in the newspaper article.
Was there any attempt to live capture this bear before in the week proceeding?
After the decision was reached to destroy the bear on site, why was a small caliber weapon used? I under the reason for not being able to dart the bear. I heard at least four gun shots. All of the rifles I saw carried by law enforcement and Fish and Wildlife people were M-4’s (modified M-16/AR-15 rifles) of 5.56 mm (caliber .223). Even the state regulations state that for big game hunting, “Big game, except cougar, must be hunted with a minimum of .24 caliber (6 mm) center fire rifle.”
In my experience when hunting big game I carried a 30-06 with a minimum of 180 grain bullet. If an "average Joe hunter” had taken this bear with a 5.56 mm and a 55 grain bullet, using at least four rounds, causing suffering, there would have been a citation issued.
I watched most of this tragedy unfold as I live three houses from the site. If you have to destroy the animal, make a quick, clean single shot. Like a true hunter would do.