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Resident shoots, kills bear on Snoqualmie Ridge

A Snoqualmie man is under investigation for shooting and killing a large black bear near his home in The Heights on Snoqualmie Ridge.

Both the Snoqualmie Police Department and state Department of Fish and Wildlife are looking into the incident, which occurred just before midnight, Monday, Sept. 10.

Snoqualmie Police spokeswoman Becky Munson said police were called to the shooting in the 34000 block of Strouf Street at 11:45 p.m., and, after taking a report from the man, called the DFW to locate and recover the bear.

Chris Moszeter, enforcement officer with the DFW, said the bear was very large and healthy-looking, and didn't seem to be surviving on a diet of garbage, because it had a thick layer of fat.

"It was an older bear, I would say 5-plus, and probably in that 400-pound range," Moszeter, who did an investigative autopsy on the bear said. "A very large, gorgeous specimen of a black bear."

The bear was killed with multiple shots. Moszeter could not specify the size of the shells, which could be a factor in the charges the Snoqualmie man might face.

Munson said Snoqualmie has never had a bear-shooting in the city in her memory, and Moszeter said they were rare in the state.

However, this is the Snoqualmie man's second recorded occurrence of shooting at a bear, according to police. In November of 2011, Munson said, police were called to the man's home because he had shot at a bear. He didn't hit the animal, and was not charged with anything.

"At that time, the investigation determined that it was 'self defense' … defending himself and his dog against the bear," Munson said.

Shooting a gun within Snoqualmie city limits is illegal. Killing a big-game animal like a bear out of season (fall bear season began Aug. 1 and continues through Nov. 15) or without a permit is also illegal, unless the property owner acts in self-defense because the bear is killing a property-owner's livestock.

"You can protect your property," Moszeter said, adding that anyone who shoots a bear must immediately notify DFW.

Also, he said, bears killed by property owners are typically "in the act of depredating, they're killing chickens or going after something," but he doubted that this bear was doing so, since this was a residential neighborhood, not a farm.

Killing a bear illegally is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in county jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

 

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