KY Hunter Kills Bear In Self-Defense

WYMT, Bear Hunting Magazine

A deer hunter in Kentucky fatally shot a black bear with his muzzleloader after the animal came too close to his hunting blind last weekend.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Conservation Officer Shane Amburgey determined the hunter, Bobby Koger, acted in self-defense due to the proximity of the bear. "He said the bear came right to his blind and almost stuck his head inside when he shot it," Amburgey said. "We found blood from the bear within a foot of the blind."

Another hunter at the scene, James Forester, shot the bear a second time, in an attempt to protect his friend. Investigators found the dead 250-pound male black bear approximately 700 yards away. The incident occurred on Black Mountain, located near Gap Branch in northeastern Harlan County.

Wildlife Biologist Steven Dobey, black bear program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, said bears rarely approach people in such a direct manner unless they smell food. Amburgey said Koger did not have food inside the blind with him.

"It is likely this bear was investigating the blind out of pure curiosity," Dobey said. Koger told investigators that he initially saw two bears in the clearing that he was hunting. Koger said one of the bears started trotting toward him when he started yelling at Forester, who was asleep at a gas well approximately 50 yards away, according to Kogers statement.

Koger said he started yelling at the bear, but it did not stop coming. Koger told investigators he shot the bear from three feet away. Forester told Amburgey that the bear came back to its feet after the shot and tried to get inside the blind. Forester said he shot the bear and it ran away. The second bear did not approach the hunters.

"The fact that yelling did not deter the bear from approaching the blind suggests it likely did not recognize the concealed hunter as a person," Dobey said. "Given the location of the incident, however, it is also possible this bear had lost its fear of people."

Dobey noted that the bear was shot less than a mile from an open dumpster site where bears have been feeding throughout the summer. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife officials suspect people have been feeding the bears as well, causing the animals to lose their fear of humans.

"This is a perfect example of how irresponsible actions of people in one area create problems for people in another area," he said.

Amburgey said the owners of the dumpster have sent letters informing people not to dump their residential garbage into the containers.

It is illegal to feed bears in Kentucky.

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