Friday, February 3rd, 2023
Friday, February 3rd, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Ohioans charged in W.Va. bear poaching probe

Summersville, W.Va. – A lengthy bear
poaching investigation was brought to a conclusion Oct. 22 and Oct.
25, when West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR)
conservation officers and Wildlife Resources personnel apprehended
a group of eight hunters in Nicholas County for using bait to lure
black bears into sites where they could be shot from elevated and
camouflaged stands. It is illegal to bait black bears in West
Virginia.

“This group of hunters, all of whom were residents of Ohio, had
been participating in this type of illegal activity for a period of
several years,” said Capt. Michael Waugh of the WVDNR District 3
Office in Elkins. “They had purchased their bait, which consisted
of donuts and corn, from multiple out-of-state vendors. The bait
was then hauled into the area by truck and distributed to the bait
sites using all-terrain vehicles. This out-of-state purchase and
interstate transport of the bait is believed to have been an effort
on the part of the poachers to conceal the quantities of bait, the
purposes for which it was being purchased, and to avert suspicion
in the areas they were baiting.”

Seven baited shooting sites were located by conservation
officers D. Duffield, T.L. White and wildlife manager Tom Pratt
when they entered the woods in Nicholas County near Summersville.
On Oct. 22, five of the hunters were apprehended at a cabin used as
a base camp from which to stage these alleged activities. As the
individual hunters were located and removed from the elevated
shooting platforms, Sgt. C.R. Johnson conducted interviews, which
led to additional information and the discovery of multiple baited
black bear kills from previous years.

Two large adult black bears were seized at the base camp
location as well as large quantities of bait stored for future use.
The first was a large male bear that was estimated to weigh in
excess of 240 pounds. The second was a large 3- to 4-year-old
female estimated to weigh more than 130 pounds.

Two additional black bears were killed at the bait sites earlier
and had already been removed from the base camp to locations
outside the borders of West Virginia. Requests for assistance in
recovering these black bears have been made to the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service under the provisions of the Lacey Act.

In conjunction with the Nicholas County Prosecuting Attorney’s
Office, charges were lodged against the participants in this
illegal baiting scheme on Friday, Oct. 23. The suspects chose to
enter pleas to these charges at the arraignment. Those charged
included:

€ David B. Moore, Felicity, Ohio – two counts of hunting bear
over bait, fines of $2,319 and 100 days in jail suspended,
contingent upon payment of fines and costs.

€ Eric W. Lykins, Loveland, Ohio – one count of killing a bear
over bait on Oct. 21 and one count of hunting bear over bait on
Oct. 17, fines of $2,319, replacement costs of $500 and 100 days in
jail suspended contingent upon payment of fines and costs.

€ James E. Moore, New Richmond, Ohio – two counts of hunting
bear over bait, fines of $2,319 and 100 days in jail suspended
contingent upon payment of fines and costs.

€ Frank J. Burns, New Richmond, Ohio – one count of killing a
bear over bait on Oct. 23 and one count of hunting bear over bait
on Oct. 17, fines of $2,319, replacement costs of $500 and 100 days
in jail suspended contingent upon payment of fines and costs.

€ Carl M. Ramsey, Amelia, Ohio – one count of killing a bear
over bait on Oct. 21 and one count of hunting bear over bait on
Oct. 17, fines of $2,319, replacement costs of $500 and 100 days in
jail suspended contingent upon payment of fines and costs.

The investigation continued and, on Oct. 25, three additional
Ohio residents were found and cited for violations of the West
Virginia bear law. They are:

€ Randy Durbin, New Richmond, Ohio – one count of taking a black
bear over bait on Oct. 17 and one count of hunting black bear over
bait on Oct. 25. Durbin was arraigned by telephone and entered a
plea to these charges on Oct. 26. He was assessed a penalty of
$2,319 and a $500 replacement fee. This individual surrendered the
remains of one black bear to conservation officers.

€ Anthony Parker of Sardinia, Ohio _- cited for one count of
taking a black bear over bait on Oct. 19 and one count of illegally
possessing parts of a black bear on Oct. 20. His arraignment is
pending. This individual surrendered the remains of one black bear
to conservation officers.

€ Robert Bradford of Amelia, Ohio – cited for one count of
hunting black bear over bait on Oct. 27, 2008, and one count of
illegally possessing parts of a black bear on Oct. 20. His
arraignment is pending

Also, David Moore, of New Richmond, surrendered parts of three
black bears that had been taken over bait in West Virginia to Ohio
wildlife officers. No charges have been filed at this time.

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