MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Reward money has now been tripled for information leading to the arrest of those involved in illegally killing a black bear.
The bear was shot while hibernating in a culvert near Star Prairie, Wis., in February.
Initially, the Star Prairie Fish and Game Association offered a reward of $500 for any information leading to an arrest. That has since jumped to more than $1,700 thanks to sportsmen associations and private donations.
“Whether you’re a hunter or non-hunter, it gives everyone a bad name…because it’s so heinous,” said conservation warden Paul Sickman with the Wisconsin DNR.
The black bear was hibernating in a culvert near Star Prairie when it was illegally shot and killed. The Wisconsin DNR estimates it weighed between 250 to 300 pounds so it would have taken more than one person to drag it out.
And when they got it out, they drove the male black bear’s body a few miles away to Rice Lake Road. There, they removed its head and left the remains in a ditch.
“I think it’s kind of sick. I wish the guy hadn’t have done it, and I hope they catch who did it,” said Truman Kellie who fishes in the area.
And that seems to be a common feeling for wildlife enthusiasts across the county.
“Somebody knows something out there, and we’d like to catch him,” said David Lackey of the Star Prairie Fish and Game Association.
As a sportsman, Lackey finds no sport in killing a helpless black bear out of season.
“Pretty sadistic, I think. So hopefully somebody will come forward. You know, that bear was big enough; he couldn’t have possibly have done that alone. Whoever did it, you know, must have had some help,” Lackey said.
The DNR said they believe whoever did it may have done it as what they call a “thrill kill,” which means they came across the bear and killed it for fun.
Or in Wisconsin you can use dogs to hunt bears. So the DNR thinks those responsible may have been training their dogs.
If anyone has information they are asked to contact the Wisconsin DNR at 1-800-TIP-WDNR.