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Bear Killed in W. Asheville

Wildlife officials are investigating a West Asheville man for shooting a bear outside his house 4pm, Monday, at the corner of Tanglewood and Dunwell streets.

"The shooter was out shoveling gravel with his daughter when he saw the bear.  He went back in his house, got a 30-30 caliber rifle, came back out and shot him," said Sgt. Andrew Helton, an investigator with North Carolina's Wildlife Enforcement.  "The bear was between the driveway and the house."

A neighbor witnessed the man shoot the bear.

"I'm Pretty outraged," said Evan Turnau who shot pictures and video of the bear when it was alive as well as after it was shot. "The bears were living here before the neighborhood was. This is a protected wildlife area next to these houses."

Asheville Police also responded to the scene. Wildlife officials say they expect multiple shootings in the coming weeks. White and Red Oaks high in the North Carolina mountains haven't produced acorns this year. Acorns are bears main food source which is why Sgt. Helton said they will be foraging through people's yards, garbage cans and in back of restaurants searching for food.

"I'm afraid we're going to have a lot of bears getting shot," said Helton. Shawn Martin the investigator with Wildlife enforcement looking into Monday's shooting expects the Buncombe County prosecutor to get his investigation report by Wednesday, meet with wildlife officials, and decide if criminal charges will be filed.

"It makes me really mad," said  Turnau. "There's children in this neighborhood and firing a gun in city limits is against the law."

In North Carolina an individual is allowed to shoot a bear, if they feel their life or property is in danger. But in this case, the homeowner went in his home to safety, and then returned outside with his rifle.

"It's a gray area there," said Sgt. Helton. "It's really in his mind if he felt threatened for his life or property being disturbed I don't know all the facts, this case is being investigated and charges could possibly be pending."

If found guilty the man would face up to $4000 in wildlife penalties and lose his hunting license.

by Kimberly King
Follow Kim on Twitter @KimKingReports


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