Man who killed first bear in Nevada hunt charged with illegal baiting
December 14, 2011
By Jeff DeLong, RGI.com
The Reno man who killed the first bear in Nevada’s highly
controversial black bear hunt faces charges he illegally baited the
Timothy Kawelmacher, 55, is scheduled to appear in Reno Justice Court
on Monday. He is charged with two misdemeanor counts of baiting big-game
mammals for the purpose of hunting, said Chris Hicks, Washoe County
deputy district attorney.
“It is very discouraging that the very first bear killed in this
controversial hunt is now the subject of prosecution,” Hicks said.
Kawelmacher is charged with using apples and bacon grease to bait for
bears on Aug. 11 and anise oil for the same purpose between Aug. 5 and
Aug. 20, when the season opened, Hicks said.
Kawelmacher killed the season’s first bear — a 9-year-old, 180-pound
female — with a rifle near Garson Road west of Reno on Aug. 20,
according to officials with the Nevada Department of Wildlife. He was
later cited by game wardens, and the bear’s head and hide were seized as
Kawelmacher, who Hicks said has cooperated with authorities, could
not be reached for comment. It appears he will be acting as his own
attorney Monday, Hicks said.
The hunter faces fines of up to $1,000 and jail time of up to 6
months for each count, Hicks said. Additional civil penalties of up to
$2,000 for each count are also possible.
“What is most significant about this case is that it was the very first
year of the bear hunt, and there was a very heated debate about whether
there should even be a bear hunt,” Hicks said.
Since the season opened Aug. 20, 13 bears — eight males and five
females — have been killed. The season ends Dec. 31 or once 20 bears
total or six females are killed.
At least 33 states have a black bear hunting season in place. While some
do allow baiting, Nevada wildlife officials outlawed the activity when
adopting hunting regulations.
Forty-one hunters who successfully drew tags for the hunt attended an
Aug. 6 orientation hosted by the Department of Wildlife to make clear
specifics of hunting regulations, among other things. Kawelmacher was
present, officials said.
Considering the controversy of the hunt, which was widely attacked by
critics, wildlife officials stressed the importance of obeying the
“You guys are under the microscope,” Department of Wildlife biologist
and bear expert Carl Lackey said at the time. “Please do everything
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