Two Men Convicted in Bear Case

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On October 25, 2004, two Massachusetts men plead guilty to baiting and shooting a black bear on September 5, 2004 in Searsburg, Vermont.

Philip Hiser Jr., 45, and John Coty, 65, of Lee, Massachusetts were ordered to pay fines totaling $850 each as well as appear before a reparative board, which serves as a form of probation. A possible 30-day jail sentence was suspended, provided that the two men comply with the terms of their sentence.

The bear had been baited with garbage bags filled with donuts, muffins and bagels hanging from a cable approximately 75 yards north of a camp located on Route 9 in Searsburg, Vermont. Hiser and Coty later admitted to raiding a Dunkin Donuts dumpster to fill the bags.

Hiser and Coty were caught after Vermont game wardens staked out their camp. At 6:30 a.m. on September 4, 2004 Hiser and Coty were seen leaving the camp with a boy estimated to be between 9 and 14 years old. All three individuals were carrying long guns as they walked into the woods towards the baited area. The following morning, game wardens observed Hiser and Coty leave the camp alone. Soon after that the game wardens heard shots coming from the baited area. Approximately 20 minutes later, one individual returned to camp with blood on his hands and took an ATV back into the woods.

Game wardens entered the baited area and observed Hiser and Coty standing over a large, dead black bear, which was about five feet from the bait.

When interviewed by a game warden, Coty admitted that he knew it was illegal to bait bear and stated, This was stupid, I certainly know better.

Both men owned up to their actions in court and paid the fines. Both Hiser and Coty have lost their right to hunt, fish and trap in the State of Vermont for three years.

Vermont state game wardens Meira Selby, Travis Buttle and George Scribner, and deputy warden Wynn Metcalfe did an excellent job of putting this case together with good investigative work and persistence, said Colonel Robert Rooks, Vermont,s chief game warden.