SALYERSVILLE – A bear shooting is under investigation after a black bear was reportedly trying to get into a Salyersville home on Tuesday night.
Magoffin County Sheriff Bill Meade told the Salyersville Independent his office had received some reports of a black bear sighting on top of and around a dumpster at Pine Point Apartments, located on the Restaurant Row area of the Mountain Parkway.
Sheriff Meade said the bear was never there when his deputies would go to check out the reports, but on Sunday dispatch called Kentucky State Police to notify Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife so an officer could look into the matter.
On Tuesday April 18, the sheriff’s office received reports that a bear was seen at a residence located behind the BP gas station, also along the Mountain Parkway, with the residents telling police the bear was on their porch, but they were able to scare it away.
After receiving another call from the same residence on Tuesday night, sheriff deputies were en route to the home when the man returned and found the bear back at his residence, with the man shooting the bear less than a minute before deputies arrived.
Law enforcement found the bear obviously suffering and dying, so they fired a fatal shot to the bear.
Sheriff Meade said they had dispatch call KSP, again, and a Fish and Wildlife officer was dispatched to the area, with the incident still under investigation by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“With a situation like this, you have a right to defend yourself and your family from any aggression, be it from a bear or a dog,” Sheriff Meade said. “There would sure be a charge for hunting a bear, but this obviously wasn’t that type of a situation. If the person who shot the bear felt his family was in danger, there’s not an issue there.”
Sheriff Meade expressed he wished the situation could have ended differently.
“It’s unfortunate that the bear couldn’t have been trapped and relocated, but if a situation presents a danger to human life, you’ve got to deal with that,” Meade said.
Lisa Jackson, who is the information office supervisor for the Information and Education Division of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, told the Independent their officer and a wildlife biologist determined the bear was a young male, likely dispersing from his mother and home range as is common this time of year. The Fish and Wildlife officer did not see signs of entry into the home, but no citation was issued to the homeowner, Jackson said.
“Our bear and elk subject matter specialist informs me that while Salyersville and Magoffin County are not in the core bear area for the state, which is along the Virginia and Tennessee borders, bear populations are most likely inhabiting the eastern third of the state,” Jackson said. “Residents and businesses should be aware of potential bear presence and take appropriate precautions against attracting bears to their properties by securing trash in bear-proof receptacles, avoiding having any grease traps and outside grills, and not feeding pets or wildlife outside of their homes.”
Furthermore, Jackson said the public can call 1-800-25-ALERT to report any problems with bears. For an emergency situation, the public should contact our Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement or the Kentucky State Police.
“The bear would have been euthanized, not relocated,” Jackson confirmed.
For more information about co-existing with bears, Jackson recommended www.bearwatch.org as a site with excellent information on the subject matter.