Bear taken down after being shot in the back
August 4, 2004
TAHOE CITY – West Shore residents reported sightings of a wounded bear dragging its hind legs in late June. The animal was found last week and killed in Homewood.
BEAR League Executive Director Ann Bryant said the bear had been shot in the back and paralyzed.
“I was absolutely horrified by the sight of it because from his waist all the way down to his feet was deformed and atrophied,” she said.
Bryant and the Placer County sheriff’s office decided to kill the 2-year-old male bear since it was unable to hunt, shooting the animal as it used its front legs and chin to hang from a tree branch in Tahoe Swiss Village, she said.
At least a dozen bears have been killed on the North Shore this year, Bryant said, most of them hit by cars or trapped with approval from the Department of Fish and Game.
It is unclear who shot the gun that paralyzed the bear. Bryant said several residents heard gunshots June 23.
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The Department of Fish and Game, the agency charged with enforcing illegal killing of wildlife, declined to open an investigation or examine the body and bullet.
“Those are situations that are difficult – we’d have to bring the bear down here and we don’t have the resources to do that at this time,” Patrol Capt. Mark Lucero said, citing budget cuts and reduced staffing. “It would be a costly and lengthy investigation.”
Bryant said she can’t remember a bear killing as grisly as the recent shooting. After becoming paralyzed, the bear hauled itself around the West Shore for more than a month with its front legs, attempting to find food.
“I found drag marks all over my neighborhood. It looked like a dead body was being dragged around,” she said. “The public needs to know that this happened and it’s not acceptable.”