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PA: Hunter shoots bear illegally

November 21, 2009

'I'm not ever buying a hunting license again'

Perry County man says he was protecting his dog when he shot a 9-year-old bear, but a judge rules the shooting wasn't justified

Saturday, November 21, 2009 BY CHRIS A. COUROGEN

The Pennsylvania Game Commission can have his hunting license back, Dustin W. Lauver said Friday morning after he was found guilty of killing a bear out of season and ordered to pay more than $2,000 in fines and costs.

"I'm not ever buying a hunting license again," Lauver said.

It's not because Lauver likes the idea of giving up hunting. But he'd rather do that than give another penny of his money to the agency he feels wrongfully prosecuted him for shooting a 220-pound bear that was roaming behind his Perry County home and driving Lauver's pet pit bull crazy.

"I can't afford to pay that fine," he said outside District Judge Daniel McGuire's court after the judge found him guilty of killing the bear. "I'll end up losing my house, my truck, everything."

According to court testimony, Lauver told game wardens he grabbed his .22-caliber rifle and went to investigate after hearing his dog, Tigger, barking strangely shortly after midnight Oct. 28. After firing a warning shot into the mountainside behind his home, he fired a second shot at "something black" moving in his direction from a hillside 50 feet from his house.

Lauver said he did not even know it was a bear until he and his uncle found the nearly 9-year-old animal dead with a bullet hole in the front of its head.

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