North Carolina Bear Poacher Gets Federal Conviction

The Citizen Times, Bear Hunting Magazine

Surveillance and investigation into bear poaching in eastern North Carolina by officers of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has led to a federal firearms conviction.

Michael Augustus Comstock, 50, of Columbia, N.C. was sentenced in U.S. District Court to six years and six months in prison for possession of a firearm by a felon, plus three years supervised probation upon his release.

Comstock pleaded guilty October 6th in state court to hunting during a closed season, which resulted in a $2,000 fine, replacement costs of $2,232 and suspension of his hunting license for two years, effective beginning when released from federal penitentiary. He was also required to pay court costs of $121.

Wildlife officers cite this case as an example of the success in statewide efforts to safeguard game resources and sportsmen. As bear hunting season prepares to open in various regions, they will continue to emphasize enforcement efforts.

The first segment of western bear season is Oct. 13-Nov. 22; the first segment of eastern bear seasons opens varying upon county, consult the 2008-2009 regulations digest for local dates and details or call 919-707-0031.

Sgt. Mark Cagle of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission led the Tyrrell County investigation, which began in April of 2007. A stakeout led to apprehension of a suspect and collection of evidence, including a recently killed bear, a stolen 12-guage shotgun that had been recently fired, a 55-gallon barrel of peanut butter, a 55-gallon barrel of bubblegum and 55-gallon barrel of peppermint candy, as well as observation of hunting dogs released at the bait site where the bear was killed that same morning.

Forensic testing by State Bureau of Investigation revealed the slug that killed the bear matched the stolen shotgun.

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