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20 in Southwest Virginia charged in bear sting

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Roanoke Times

Virginia officials placed 115 charges on 20 Southwest Virginia residents last week following a two-year investigation by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries into illegal bear hunting.

The charges included the baiting of bears, hunting bears out of season, possession of illegally taken bears, trespassing and possession and sale of untaxed alcohol, according to the DGIF. Those charged live in Alleghany, Bedford, Botetourt, Franklin and Montgomery counties, and Lynchburg and Roanoke.

Game wardens executed two search warrants in Franklin County and found four bear carcasses that had been illegally killed in North Carolina, the DGIF said. North Carolina officials have placed 80 charges against the group. No bears were killed in Virginia, said Lt. Karl Martin of the DGIF.

The investigation started after a citizen complained to the DGIF. As part of the investigation, a DGIF officer infiltrated the group, Martin said.

- David Harrison

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