Man Cited for Shooting Bear

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The Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Division of Fish and Wildlife today cited a West Milford Township man for unlawfully shooting a black bear that entered his yard last week.

As a result of an investigation that included a review of necropsy reports, the DEP cited Patrick P. Flynn Jr. of North Kushaqua Trail in West Milford for unlawfully injuring a black bear. The summons carries a minimum fine of $100 and a maximum fine of $300.

Flynn shot and wounded the 400-pound, male black bear on the evening of June 5. The following morning, division officers located the bear 400 yards from the house. They were forced to euthanize the animal due to its injuries.

Although Flynn indicated at the time that he shot the bear in self-defense, the division's necropsy report indicated otherwise. The bear was shot in the rear at a range of about 15 yards, indicating it was retreating when Flynn pulled the trigger.

"Communities need to understand that shooting bears is unlawful," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "While there may be circumstances in which an immediate threat to safety would excuse a killing, that justification was not presented by the facts in this case."

Residents who encounter a bear on their property should call police and not confront the animal. The DEP has trained hundreds of local police officers to respond to bear incidents.

Making loud noises, such as banging pans together, will usually get a bear to leave the area. Keeping garbage, pet foods and bird feeders secured from bears can reduce the number of problem incidents in a neighborhood.

West Milford Municipal Court is scheduled to hear the case Tuesday, July 1.