Whoever is responsible for shooting and killing two Oregon black bears and leaving them to slowly die is being hunted by state police.
One of the bears, a 275-pound female, was found in a tree with a large arrow sticking out of her chest on October 29 near Talent, Oregon. After her body was removed from where she had died in the tree, 40 feet above the ground, investigators found that she had also been shot twice with a firearm as well as the bow and arrow.
A second black bear was found dead in a tree nearby, leading investigators to believe that the same person or persons were responsible for both deaths, according to a statement from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). It did not say if it had determined that the bears died the same day. The second bear was not removed from the tree because of its body’s condition.
Black bears are the most common species of bear in North America, with the U.S. estimated to be home to between 339,000 and 465,000 individuals. Oregon alone is thought to contain between 25,000 and 30,000 black bears. Adult males can grow to weights of up to 551 pounds, with females reaching around 375 pounds.
They are permitted to be hunted during the spring and fall, but hunters are permitted to kill only one bear per hunter per season, unless the hunter applies for and purchases another hunting tag. The spring hunt runs from April 1 to May 31, while the fall hunt occurs between August 1 and December 31. Additionally, the kill must be reported to the ODFW, and the bear’s skull must be taken to the ODFW within 10 days of the kill to be checked and marked.
Between 1988 and 1992, around 18,000 black bears were killed each year across the U.S. by hunters.
These two bears were likely a case of killing for sport or fun, Derek Broman, an ODFW carnivore coordinator, said in the statement.
The ODFW tracks the population of black bears by investigating all cases, such as these, of mortality. A lot of work goes into keeping the bear population stable and healthy, including tooth collection, population modeling and data tracking.
This act of violence against the bears is “insulting” to the efforts of researchers who keep track of the bear populations, Broman said.
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