By Kelly Burgess
A Novato, Calif., man received a two-year prison sentence and had his hunting and fishing privileges revoked for life after he was convicted of bear poaching and other offenses.
The California Department of Fish and Game reports that Wayne Richard Barsch, 49, was already a two-strike felon when sentenced Feb. 4 by a Glenn County judge. Barch will also face an as-yet-undetermined fine.
The conviction is the result of a December 2010 incident, when Barsch was contacted by DFG warden Mike Beals in rural Glenn County. Beals was on a routine patrol when he encountered Barsch and two hunting partners attempting to process a black bear they had killed at least a day earlier.
Warden Beals found Barsch in possession of a .45-caliber handgun, and a check through DFG dispatch revealed Barsch was a convicted felon and had a restraining order against him, either of which would prevent him from being in possession of any firearm. Beals also found that Barsch had a bear head, four paws and the gall bladder, but only 15 pounds of bear meat, far less than what would be expected to come from a 200-pound animal. It is a crime in California to waste meat from any game animal. Barsch had also failed to tag the bear after killing it.
Since Barsch was on searchable probation, seven wardens went to his residence, where they discovered another bear gall bladder as well as a bear penis, head and five paws in his freezer.
Barsch will serve at least 85% of the two-year prison sentence. Because he was a two-strike felon, the courts may add to his prison sentence. And since California is part of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, an agreement that recognizes suspension of hunting, fishing and trapping licenses in member states, Barsch's lifetime hunting and fishing prohibition will be enforced elsewhere in the nation.