Man Sentenced for Killing Sow and Cubs

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State conservation officers today announced the conviction of a Dickinson County man charged with the illegal killing of a sow bear and her two cubs.

Homer Dunkas, 73, of Norway, was sentenced Dec. 8 by 95B District Court Judge Michael Kusz.

Michigan DNR Conservation Officer David Painter, Iron County, led the investigation, after receiving a complaint about three dead bears that were discovered near Benton Lake Road, north of Norway.

An anonymous tip led Painter to question Dunkas, who confessed that he saw the bears come onto his property on or about Sept. 21, 2004. The defendant went into his house, got a shotgun and shot the sow bear. When the cubs would not leave the property, Dunkas shot and killed them as well. He told the officer he then loaded the animals in a truck and dumped the carcasses in a vacant lot on Benton Lake Road, where they were found a few days later. Following his confession, a warrant was issued charging Dunkas with six counts of killing bears out of season and without license.

Judge Kusz ordered Dunkas to pay $1,500 restitution to the state of Michigan for each bear, which will be deposited in the Game and Fish Fund, plus court costs and fines totaling $1,790. He also forfeited the shotgun used to shoot the bears, lost all hunting privileges until 2008, was ordered to serve 20 days of community service and will be on probation for one year.

"These bears were not causing any problems, but if they had been, the DNR is always ready to assist with nuisance animals," Officer Painter said. "The need to dispatch problem animals almost never occurs and the killing of these bears was a senseless, shameful act."

Painter was assisted in the investigation by DNR officers Ryan Aho and Sgt. Tim Robson.

Anyone with information regarding any crime related to natural resources is encouraged to call the DNR’s Report All Poaching Hotline at 800-292-7800. Information can be provided anonymously.