January 27, 2023

Three Men Will Pay the Price of Killing Grizzly Bears

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Dan Walters of Dry Ridge, Ky., shot a 300-pound, 7-year-old grizzly bear with a bow on Sept. 23, 2002. Walters pleaded guilty to killing the bear and was fined $15,000 and had his hunting privileges revoked for two years. The female bear, wearing a radio control collar, had a yearling cub.

The next day, Walters, along with two other hunting companions, went back to find the bear he had shot. Tim Brown and Brad Hoopes have both pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges. Brown for shooting a bear with a rifle and Hoopes for destroying government property. Both face jail time and up to $100,000 in fines.

The three men’s story goes that when they returned to find the bear Walters had shot (which he said he thought it was a black bear)and found it, the yearling cub charged the men. Hoopes shot an arrow at the bear in self defense and wounded the animal. Later Brown claims he shot the bear to put it out of its misery.

Officials who investigated the incident said the cub had not been wounded.

Hoopes’ charge of destroying government property was the radio collar that was worn by the mother bear – bear 346 known to the Inter-Agency Grizzly Bear Study Team. Hoopes and Brown took the collar to a creek bed and smashed it on the rocks and threw it in the creek.

Sentencing for Brown and Hoopes is scheduled for March 16, 2006 in Pocatello, Idaho.

Tom Remington