Man charged after shooting at a black bear in Alabama

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(Image: MGN Online)

HEFLIN, Ala. – A man has been charged with breaking the state’s bear protection laws after shooting at a black bear on June 16. The man could face a $2,000 fine if convicted of the misdemeanor.

The Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) is using this case as a reminder to Alabama residents that black bears are protected by state law because of low population numbers. There is also no established black bear hunting season in the state, despite its classification as a game animal.

Capt. Johnny Johnson is a supervising conservation enforcement officer with the WFF. He calls shooting a black bear a “serious offense that could send someone to jail for up to a year.” That’s in addition to the fines. “If you see a black bear, leave it alone. We want and welcome them in Alabama,” Johnson said.

A small population of black bears has remained in southwest Alabama, primarily in Mobile and Washington counties. Recently, bears have migrated into northeast Alabama from Georgia.

The WFF calls black bears secretive and shy animals that avoid human interaction.

The agency offers the following tips if you encounter or observe a black bear:

  • Do not be frightened
  • Do not approach the animal
  • Do not run from the bear; back away slowly
  • Stand tall and upright and make loud noises
  • Avoid direct eye contact with the bear
  • Make sure the bear has an unobstructed direction to escape
  • Never purposely feed a bear

The WFF encourages the public to report black bear sightings here.

The bear in Heflin appeared to be unharmed by the incident.

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