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PA: Hunter Baited Trophy Bear

December 8, 2009

Game Commission: Hunter Baited Trophy Bear By Peggy Lee 

In Luzerne County, a hunter is in hot water with the state game commission. Charles Olsen Jr. of Wilkes-Barre is accused of using pastries to bait a 700-pound bear.

The 707 pound black bear killed in Wyoming County could have bagged Olsen a trophy. Instead, the Pennsylvania Game Commission said it bagged him much more than that.

The Wilkes-Barre man brought the bear to the commission's northeast regional office in Dallas Township on November 25.

"The officer that was in charge of the check station mentioned that there may be a problem with the bear and at that point he blurted out that he killed the bear over bait," said Daniel Figured of the game commission.

Officers said Olsen illegally killed the bear over a pile a pastries he set out as bait.

The commission said it was on to him a week before bear season started. That's when one of their officers noticed a pick-up truck driving along Route 309 in Dallas loaded with store-bought pastries.

After running the truck's license plate, Charles Olsen's name came up.

"That information from that vehicle was given to all check stations, bear check stations, which all legal bears have to be brought into," said Figured.

At the Gander Mountain store in Dickson City, hunter Bob Holden thinks harsher penalties are needed.

"They said he may lose his license. I think it should be automatic," said Holden. "It should be just taken away."

The commission said if Olsen had shot the bear legally, it would have been the largest bear harvested this season.

In Lehman Township, hunter Mike Palkovic said the prize wouldn't matter if you got it by cheating.

"Why would you want to put a trophy on a wall or have a rug or something made that you really didn't get legally?" asked Palkovic.

Along with possible fines and a loss of his hunting privileges for at least three years, the game commission also plans to ask a judge for $5,000 in restitution for the trophy-class bear.

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