Sheriff’s deputy accidentally shoots bear with live round
October 31, 2011
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – A Douglas County Sheriff’s deputy accidentally shot a black bear with a live round rather than a rubber bullet during a Friday incident that resulted in the death of the bear, according to Monday statement from the sheriff’s office.
About 10 p.m., deputies responded to the Tahoe Shores Mobile Home Park in Stateline after a resident reported a bear was in his garage ripping items apart and two bears were outside, said Sgt. Jim Halsey in the statement.
Deputies arrived and scared off one of the bears with loud noises and lights. The other two bears climbed a tree at the mobile home park.
“One of the deputies then attempted to scare off the bears by using an approved rubber-projectile wildlife control round fired from his duty shotgun,” Halsey said. “The first projectile struck one of the bears, but was ineffective in scaring it off.”
“A second deputy then fired a second wildlife control round at the same bear, however this too was ineffective. The second deputy then fired what he believed to be another wildlife control round at the bear; however this third round was a rifled slug similar in size and shape to the rubber-projectile wildlife control round. The bear was injured from the rifled slug round, and ultimately had to be dispatched.”
When loading weapons for wildlife control, deputies typically load two rubber-projectile rounds followed by two rifled slug rounds. The two slugs are loaded in case a bear charges a deputy rather than run away after being struck by the rubber rounds, Halsey said.
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“In this incident, in the darkness the deputy incorrectly stacked his rounds by mistake, thereby making the second round fired out of the shotgun a rifled slug rather than a rubber-projectile wildlife control round,” Halsey said.
The shooting is under investigation.
Halsey called the incident “unfortunate.”
“It should be noted that deputies of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office respond to hundreds of bear calls each year, and have successfully used rubber-projectile wildlife control rounds on a number of occasions to assist them in scaring off bears that otherwise were not scared off by loud noise or lights alone,” Halsey said.