Poacher Sentenced For Illegal Bear Trapping

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Clifton Lee McCarter of Tellico Plains, TN was sentenced in United States Federal Court on May 3, 2004, for his involvement in an illegal bear trap site in the Cherokee National Forest in Monroe County.

McCarter was sentenced to: Thirty days incarceration in Federal prison, and two years supervised probation. During the two years of probation McCarter is prohibited from possessing firearms, prohibited from hunting by any means anywhere, and prohibited from entering any National Park or National Forest. In addition, McCarter was ordered to pay the USDA Forest Service – Tellico Ranger District the sum of $3,000 for rehabilitation of an illegal four-wheeler trail utilized to access the trap.

In July, 2003 officers and agents with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the USDA Forest Service discovered an illegal bear bait site associated with a bear trap in the Tellico Ranger District. Surveillance of the site resulted in agents observing McCarter as he checked and tended to a bear that was inside a trap.

A search warrant of McCarter’s residence revealed a large steel cage, believed to have held live bears in the past and an additional trap in the Cherokee National Forest adjacent to his residence. Agents also recovered several videotapes that displayed numerous black bear hunts, including one video of a black bear tied to a cable and individuals allowing dogs to fight it.