Charges Dropped Against Ohio Resident

Shot Black Bear July 23

Ohio Times, Bear Hunting Magazine
12/17/2008

The Coshocton, Ohio police prosecutor agreed Tuesday to dismiss the first-degree misdemeanor filed against John Tanksley for unlawful taking of an endangered species.

Tanksley originally was charged by wildlife officers after shooting a black bear on July 23 at 2 a.m. when he was awakened to discover the bear and his dog clamoring outside his residence.

Police Prosecutor James Skelton agreed not to refile the charge as long as Tanksley pays the Division of Wildlife $1,000, which is the statutory restitution for a black bear.

Hindsight is 20/20, but I really think I responded to the circumstances the way most people would have in my situation, Tanksley said. I mean I woke up to find my dog and a bear making a ruckus outside. Kia (the dog) and the bear ran off about 100 yards, and I didnt grab my rifle until I saw the bear coming back following Kia. I had tried to get my dog under control and in the house but was never able to.

I didnt raise my rifle until the bear was about 20 yards from me and began to bounce toward me and show aggression. I didnt shoot until he had closed to about seven yards.

Tanksley shot the bear three times and immediately called law enforcement.

I really believe a jury would have seen things my way, but I cant complain if the prosecutor dismisses the charge, Tanksley said. The court also ordered Tanksleys rifle returned to him.

Tanksleys attorney, Ryan Styer of Newcomerstown, said he was pleased with the outcome.

John never had any criminal intent and used reasonable means to protect himself and his property, Styer said. We were very eager to try the case Wednesday, but the State offered a deal that John simply could not refuse. The charge is dismissed with no cost to John other than to pay the statutory restitution amount.



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