By JOE MANDAK
A northwestern Pennsylvania hunter who said he was suffering from
"bear fever" was fined more than $1,500 for firing a crossbow and a
rifle at a bear in a residential area.
"You ever hear of buck fever?" Alphonso Lauricia, 72, of Franklin,
said in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday. "Well, I had
bear fever; I don't even know how many shots I fired."
Lauricia paid $1,584 in fines and court costs for the incident that
occurred Nov. 21, the second day of bear season, the Pennsylvania Game
Commission announced Monday.
Game commission officials said Lauricia spotted the bear in an oak
tree while he was getting gas at a station in a residential area of
Franklin, about 50 miles south of Erie.
Lauricia went home to retrieve some hunting weapons. He came back and
shot at the bear four times with a crossbow, striking it twice, then
fired a .308 caliber rifle at the bear several times as it ran away
through the neighborhood, game commissioners said.
The oak tree was just four feet from a garage and within 20 yards of
two homes. State gaming laws require hunters to be at least 50 yards
from occupied buildings before using a crossbow, and at least 150 yards
away if they use a gun - unless they have advance permission from the
property owner, which Lauricia did not.
"I was very excited," Lauricia said. "In all my 72 years, I never had
a shot at a bear before."
A concerned citizen called the Game Commission's northwest regional
office in Franklin to report the shooting.
"This is an unfortunate case of an individual disregarding hunting
laws and firearms safety in a reckless effort to kill a bear," said
Wildlife Conservation Officer Clint Deniker, who responded to the call.
"Thankfully, someone got involved and we were able to apprehend the
Lauricia was caught when he brought the bear to the commission's
office in Franklin to have it processed and tagged.
"This individual's only concern was killing that bear, apparently at
any cost," Deniker said.
Lauricia said he pleaded guilty and paid the fine Friday for
citations of unlawful taking of big game, violating a safety zone and
trespass on private property while hunting.