Hunters in the area reported the bear to LDWF on Sunday, Dec. 11 near the old ferry landing. LDWF performed a necropsy on the bear at the recovery scene, which revealed the bear was shot multiple times and then probably disposed of into the river. LDWF is estimating that the bear was shot either a day or two before being reported.
"The bear was a lactating female meaning this action has left orphan cubs out there somewhere that will now also die as a result of this unfortunate shooting," said Maria Davidson, LDWF's Large Carnivore Program Manager. "Losing this mother bear and most likely her cubs is a serious setback for our plans to make the Louisiana black bear a sustainable game animal in the near future."
When LDWF officials went back to retrieve the bear they found the bear had been decapitated by someone since the last visit to the scene. LDWF is warning the public that being found in possession of parts of a Louisiana black bear is against the law.
Anyone with information regarding this illegal bear killing or the whereabouts of the missing black bear head 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 iTunes store free of charge.
The hotline and the tip411 program are monitored 24 hours a day. Cash rewards up to $5,000 are offered for information leading to the apprehension of individuals harming a black bear. 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 guide us in the right direction" said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division. "
This bear has no reported nuisance history and by all accounts was a healthy adult female Louisiana black bear.
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 civil 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.