|Louisiana Black Bear|
Recently, a Brandon, MS, man pleaded guilty to killing a Louisiana Black Bear while bow hunting last year in Issaquena County.
Ryan C. Murphy, 32, pled guilty in U. S. District Court on August 14 to killing the bear, a federally protected animal under the Endangered Species Act.
Murphy killed the bear with a bow in the largely rural Delta county on November 16.
U. S. Magistrate Judge F. Keith Ball ordered Murphy to pay a fine of $10,000, $10,000 in restitution to the state and $5,00 to the BEaR Group of Mississippi, a non-profit organization that focuses on black bear conservation, research and education efforts in Mississippi.
He was also sentenced to two years of probation and prohibited from hunting anything for two years.
His bow was forfeited as part of the sentence.
Investigators with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service handled the case.
MDWFP Chief of Law Enforcement Col. Steve Adcock said in a statement the killing of Louisiana Black Bears is serious offense.
"We take robbing the wildlife resources of Mississippi very seriously and will investigate and vigorously pursue the prosecution of any individual who violates laws designed to protect these resources," he said.
The bear was killed near Mayersville, which is about 10 miles west of Rolling Fork, near the Mississippi River.
In 2002, the MDWFP created the Black Bear Program to boost the species' number in the state. In 10 years, the number of Louisiana black bears in the state went from fewer then 50 to 150 today.
The MDWFP website points to an increase in female black bears, which has led to the births of dozen of cubs in the last 10 years. Before the program began, a black bear birth had not been documented in Mississippi since the early 1960s. ~ by Matt Stuart matt.stuart @vicksburgpost.com