State and federal wildlife officials have put up a $10,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the shooter of a Grizzly bear and her nursing cub in the wilderness of northern Idaho.
The dead bears were found May 18 by a hiker on Hall Mountain in Boundary County, near the Kootenai River valley. The shootings have outraged locals and hunting groups, who note Grizzly bears are a protected species. Hunting them can bring a year in prison and be fined up to $100,000.
“A good sportsman doesn’t go out there and do this," said Jon Meadows, president of the Kootenai Valley Sportsman Association. "I hope we find out who done it. It’s uncalled for.”
The reward is being offered by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and the Idaho Department of Fishing and Game. The carcasses of the bears were flown to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lab in Ashland, Ore., for further investigation.
Meadows scoffed at the notion the killings may have been in self-defense, noting someone who had been threatened by an aggressive bear before killing it out of necessity “would have turned the bear in to authorities.”
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services spokesman Jason Holm told FoxNews.com he hopes the reward will convince someone who knows the shooter to come forward.
"I trust the shooter is sleeping poorly tonight, knowing his softball teammates, drinking buddies and family members are currently weighing whether they appreciate him or the ability to receive $10,000 anonymously more," Holm said. "I hope the reward and the truly callous nature of the crime persuade someone to do the right thing.”
Anyone with information can contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent at (509) 928-6050; the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at (208) 769-1414 or the Idaho Citizens Against Poaching Program at (800) 632-5999.