By Mark Hofmann
The Pennsylvania Game Commission said poaching was the reason a bear killed two outside pets before the property owner shot and killed the bear in Connellsville Township.
Officer Joel Gibble with the state Game Commission said the incident occurred sometime during the night of Nov. 24 into the morning hours of Nov. 25 along Wills Road.
Gibble said the bear entered a residential property where there was a small pen outside that held a donkey and a goat.
Gibble said the male bear killed and ate the donkey, leaving only the head, then killed the goat and was in the process of eating it when the property owners were alerted, went outside and shot and killed the bear about 7 a.m.
“We've been getting a couple of calls in the area, which isn't uncommon for this time of year,” Gibble said, but added the calls of bear sightings were getting closer and closer to the city before the incident earlier in the week.
The bear, said Gibble, was tagged by the Game Commission in May and was weighed in at 231 pounds. He added the bear should have weighed 300 to 350 pounds to prepare for hibernation around the time it was being spotted.
Gibble said the bear weighed about 250 pounds when it was shot.
“We did an exam on the bear,” Gibble said. “The coat looked very poor and there was a wound in the chest.”
The wound, said Gibble, appeared to be an old arrow wound that was infected and inflicted possibly a month or two ago.
“The bear moved closer to the city where there's more food,” Gibble said.
While the game commission prefers receiving information on bear sightings so they can humanely capture and release them, he said the property owner in the incident was not at fault for killing the bear, that it's legal to shoot a bear for self protection or protection of property.
“This was very justifiable,” Gibble said. “The bear was in the act of feeding on the goat when it was shot. It was unavoidable.”
Gibble said there will be an ongoing investigation concerning the poaching of the bear since it was shot with an arrow out of season.