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Grizzly death case could set precedent(MT)
Salt Lake Tribune ^ | 30 May, 2010 | Cory Hatch And Sarah Lison

Posted on 05/31/2010 5:52:39 AM PDT by marktwain

Jackson, Wyo. » The successful prosecution of a Jackson Hole hunter who claimed self defense after killing a grizzly could set a precedent in Greater Yellowstone, where the grizzly population is expanding and loaded guns are now allowed in national parks, experts say.

A jury recently found 41-year-old Stephen Westmoreland guilty of a misdemeanor charge of illegally taking a grizzly bear stemming from an incident in September when he shot a bear. He argued self defense in a trial that hinged on the behavior of the bear, among other things.

Mark Bruscino, bear management program supervisor for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, testified at the trial about how bears act before they attack a person and told jurors that most often bruins will retreat during an encounter.

"This whole thing adds up to that people need to make sure they are in a self-defense situation," Bruscino said in an interview after the trial. "You can't kill wildlife based on an undemonstrated fear of an unrealistic threat."

Last year, seven grizzly bears were killed by hunters and hikers in self defense situations in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Teton County Attorney Steve Weichman, who prosecuted the Westmoreland case, said it is one of the first instances in the country where a person was convicted of taking wildlife when claiming self defense.

Westmoreland shot the animal at 40 yards after he encountered it feeding on a moose carcass. The animal died on the other side of the moose from Westmoreland and without charging.

(Excerpt) Read more at sltrib.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; US: Wyoming
KEYWORDS: banglist; bear; grizzly; wy
If the bear was on the other side of the Moose carcass, and not moving toward the hunter, the jury verdict seems understandable.
1 posted on 05/31/2010 5:52:39 AM PDT by marktwain
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To: marktwain
"You can't kill wildlife based on an undemonstrated fear of an unrealistic threat."

It's a damn Griz!!! Any threat is realistic with a Griz on a trail!

2 posted on 05/31/2010 5:59:08 AM PDT by Anti-Bubba182
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To: marktwain

It’s illegal to poach the King’s animals.


3 posted on 05/31/2010 6:03:46 AM PDT by DaveArk
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To: marktwain
Sounds like Mr. Bear was already chowin' down.

Don't act like you're going to interrupt his meal and what's the problem?

4 posted on 05/31/2010 6:03:56 AM PDT by OKSooner ("Hey - get your own dirt.")
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To: Anti-Bubba182

A guy goes into the bear’s domain and for that the bear dies?


5 posted on 05/31/2010 6:05:17 AM PDT by misterrob (Thug Life....now showing at a White House near you....)
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To: marktwain

Maybe.

But you do understand that the Left is trying to make people as helpless before wildlife as they are before criminals.

In the not-too-distant future, the prosecution will be claiming, “Well, yes, the grizzly did charge the defendant. The grizzly did knock him down and bit his foot off. He clawed his scalp off. But the defendant had no reason to believe that these attacks were a threat on his life, because people have survived such injuries. I repeat, someone being attacked by a grizzly can only employ lethal force if that grizzly is biting the neck of the victim.”

Leftists are trying to take over MT. Their toehold for their totalitarianism is the national parks and any other “public land” that enables them to set up their autocracies.


6 posted on 05/31/2010 6:05:20 AM PDT by Ghost of Philip Marlowe (Prepare for survival.)
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To: marktwain
Westmoreland shot the animal at 40 yards after he encountered it feeding on a moose carcass. The animal died on the other side of the moose from Westmoreland and without charging.

Not much self defense at that range or situation.

What was he defending against?

First requirement, except under Castle Doctrine, is to try to disengage. The bear did not charge, it kept eating the carcass. Westmoreland should have just walked away.

7 posted on 05/31/2010 6:06:06 AM PDT by MindBender26 (Prezdet Obama is what you get when you let the O.J. jury select a president !)
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To: MindBender26
"You can't kill wildlife based on an undemonstrated fear of an unrealistic threat."

Watch me!

8 posted on 05/31/2010 6:08:07 AM PDT by Oberon (Big Brutha Be Watchin'.)
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To: Anti-Bubba182
Any threat is realistic with a Griz on a trail!

So anywhere I encounter a Grizzly bear in a protected game preserve park, even if he is 40 meters away, and showing no aggressive behavior, I can shoot him??

9 posted on 05/31/2010 6:09:35 AM PDT by MindBender26 (Prezdet Obama is what you get when you let the O.J. jury select a president !)
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To: marktwain

The typical bear at the zoo poses a greater threat than the bear in this case.

Hate to say it, but the verdict sounds 100% correct. A yahoo out looking to shoot an animal for kicks.


10 posted on 05/31/2010 6:26:46 AM PDT by sbMKE
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To: marktwain
It is people like this who is going to ruin it for everybody else who use caution. He should have backed off the bear and walked away.

I take a side arm with me when I hike in the desert. If I come across a bunch of illegals I just turn and walk away.

There was an incident where a guy was hiking and a illegal shoved a gun in his face and told him to leave.

11 posted on 05/31/2010 6:31:15 AM PDT by waxer1 ( "The Bible is the rock on which our republic rests." -Andrew Jackson)
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To: marktwain
"If the bear was on the other side of the Moose carcass, and not moving toward the hunter, the jury verdict seems understandable."

Yep. I am, however, reminded of a man in our neck of the woods who was similarly charged after lining up a shot from his bedroom window, and killing a bear while it rummaged through his trash cans. What the reporting omitted was that dozens of school children were walking to bus stops that morning, unaware of the animal's presence in the neighborhood; dozens of children carrying backpacks filled with "Old Ephraim's" favorite goodies. So, it calls to question does what constitute a perceived threat in human-to-human encounters apply in human-to-bear encounters? I dunno...but given a bear's power, speed, and belligerent nature when food's involved, I'd say equating the two would be problematic.
12 posted on 05/31/2010 6:47:19 AM PDT by PowderMonkey (Will work for ammo)
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To: marktwain
If the bear was on the other side of the Moose carcass, and not moving toward the hunter, the jury verdict seems understandable.

Agreed, if that was truly the case. It's the difference between a truly life threatening situation and the privilege of seeing one of these monsters in it's natural habitat, a wonder that people specifically travel to the park to see.

13 posted on 05/31/2010 6:48:33 AM PDT by Caipirabob ( Communists... Socialists... Democrats...Traitors... Who can tell the difference?)
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To: MindBender26

Not as easily decided as it sounds. Here are a few facts:

A male grizzly can move 109 yards in 6 seconds, so 3 seconds away from this guy.

Here are the most likely reason for attack:

“The Alaska Science Center ranks the following as the most likely reasons for bear attacks:

1. Surprise
2. Curiosity
3. Invaded personal space (this includes a mother bear protecting her young)
4. Predatory
5. Hunting wounded
6. Carcass defense
7. Provoked charge

1, 3, and 6 give three reasons in this case for this guy to be concerned, and why wait for a bear to charge you and be on you in 3 seconds? Maybe he stumbled into an area where there was no place to back out?


14 posted on 05/31/2010 6:55:59 AM PDT by Greek
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To: All

Bears now have civil rights?


15 posted on 05/31/2010 6:58:20 AM PDT by abb ("What ISN'T in the news is often more important than what IS." Ed Biersmith, 1942 -)
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To: marktwain

Seems the jury might be right on this one. If the Grizz was on his side of the meal and had made efforts to attack him, I could see self-defense, but if the Grizz was in place at his meal and no other signs of attack were present it seems someone shot a Grizz just to do it.


16 posted on 05/31/2010 7:05:26 AM PDT by CodeToad
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To: Greek

“A male grizzly can move 109 yards in 6 seconds, so 3 seconds away from this guy.”

It’s probably a bit scarier if you’re actually there and are aware of the animal’s capabilities. Tough call though - unless I’m sure that I can hit the thing in the face while it’s charging me, I might have been tempted to do what he did also.


17 posted on 05/31/2010 7:06:44 AM PDT by BobL
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To: MindBender26; Anti-Bubba182; OKSooner; misterrob; george76
So anywhere I encounter a Grizzly bear in a protected game preserve park, even if he is 40 meters away, and showing no aggressive behavior, I can shoot him??

This article gives very little information about the bear's behavior. The fact that it wasn't charging doesn't matter much, IMO. They'll often hiss and pop their jaw before bluff charging, and its exactly that, a bluff charge (run up to you and stop about 20' away). I've been told that often times before a charge they'll stand there and slowly sway their head to the side before coming in. That happened to a friend of mine hunting caribou near Kotzebue at about 50 yards, they kept shouting, it'd walk away and slowly come back. Then it stood there swaying his head and he shot it. They were not in season, and he reported it to fish & game. The ranger shook his hand and told him he's lucky he didn't get attacked.

Grizzlies can sprint up to 35mph, at 40 yards that's about 2-3 sec before they're to you. If they're near a food source, they don't like any competetion. He's lucky he saw him, instead of passing by with him lurking in the bushes. I took a grizzly a couple years back fairly close and had no idea he was there until he came out.

Again, there is very little info given in the article. If it were me I'd try to slowly back away first (NEVER run from a grizzly/brown, and keep facing them). If it acted suspiciously, irregardless of a charge(at that distance you probably wouldn't have time to react any ways), I'd have done the same thing.
18 posted on 05/31/2010 7:09:03 AM PDT by proud_yank (Socialism - An Answer In Search Of A Question For Over 100 Years)
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To: BobL
Tough call though - unless I’m sure that I can hit the thing in the face while it’s charging me,

The chances of hitting a bear charging from 40 yards are next to zero. You never want to hit it in the head either.
19 posted on 05/31/2010 7:10:42 AM PDT by proud_yank (Socialism - An Answer In Search Of A Question For Over 100 Years)
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To: abb
"Bears now have civil rights?

Photobucket
"Only you can prevent attorneys. Please, don't feed the ambulance chasers."
20 posted on 05/31/2010 7:14:29 AM PDT by PowderMonkey (Will work for ammo)
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To: OKSooner
"Don't act like you're going to interrupt his meal and what's the problem?"

You don't have grizzly bears in your state do you? They don't act or display like black bears.

21 posted on 05/31/2010 7:17:41 AM PDT by MontanaBeth (Miles to go...)
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To: marktwain

City folks don’t seem to understand grizzlies are not black bears, I have had black bears make fake charges and grunt when encountered, I slowly backed away, no problem, usually they just run with an amazing speed in the other direction. Grizzly bears do not warn, 40 yards is nothing, it would be on you in seconds, if he took a step towards me, I would fear for my life. Grizzlies to black bears, like pit bulls to poodles.


22 posted on 05/31/2010 7:25:14 AM PDT by MontanaBeth (Miles to go...)
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To: marktwain

23 posted on 05/31/2010 7:52:14 AM PDT by LomanBill (Animals! The DemocRats blew up the windmill with an Acorn!)
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To: proud_yank
Good summation. Most news articles leave a great deal out.
24 posted on 05/31/2010 7:56:48 AM PDT by marktwain
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To: proud_yank; jazusamo; GladesGuru

A backpacker recently fired nine rounds from his .45 caliber, semiautomatic pistol and killed a grizzly bear with his handgun in Alaska’s Denali National Park.

Park officials are determining the justification for the shooting. It’s legal to carry firearms in that area of the park but illegal to discharge them.


25 posted on 05/31/2010 8:15:05 AM PDT by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: misterrob
A guy goes into the bear’s domain and for that the bear dies?

The whole planet is humanity's domain. By order of the Creator.

Bears are dangerous. They are given to attacking suddenly and for no apparent reason. Ever been around them in the wild? No? I have, in the Cherokee national forest in NC. I came close to shooting a mama bear once. Those things are HUGE, and you suddenly feel very small.

26 posted on 05/31/2010 8:37:35 AM PDT by backwoods-engineer ("It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself." --Jefferson)
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To: MindBender26
"....I can shoot him??"

Yes!...and the horse he rode in on.

27 posted on 05/31/2010 9:03:16 AM PDT by Anti-Bubba182
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To: marktwain

I try to avoid hiking anywhere grizzlies are. I also don’t like to swim with sharks or drive into Memphis, TN.


28 posted on 05/31/2010 9:59:17 AM PDT by TNdandelion
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To: misterrob
A guy goes into the bear’s domain and for that the bear dies?

This country was settle that way in case you missed that ...used to be Grizz about everywhwere.

29 posted on 05/31/2010 10:02:26 AM PDT by wardaddy (No mosque at ground zero....are these NYers totally nuts?...what would wake them up?)
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To: backwoods-engineer

If they are humanity’s domain then why is it that He didn’t supply us with fire arms to deal with the rest of His creations?

Bear’s rule the forest as the apex predator. If you go into their domain because you want to be in nature then be clear that you might run into them and there is a chance you don’t come out alive. Same goes for sharks or orcas in the ocean.


30 posted on 05/31/2010 10:12:13 AM PDT by misterrob (Thug Life....now showing at a White House near you....)
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To: wardaddy

Well aware of that fact but the fact remains, they do exist and if you go into their domain you might not come out.


31 posted on 05/31/2010 10:13:46 AM PDT by misterrob (Thug Life....now showing at a White House near you....)
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To: misterrob

all the more reason to be prepared

maybe the guy panicked...who knows?


32 posted on 05/31/2010 10:35:59 AM PDT by wardaddy (No mosque at ground zero....are these NYers totally nuts?...what would wake them up?)
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To: MindBender26

Well, if the bear decided to charge you at that close a distance, you would be dead before you could get a shot off...ever try to hit a running griz?. they could cross that distance is 2 seconds..


33 posted on 05/31/2010 12:49:36 PM PDT by goat granny
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To: MindBender26
even if he is 40 meters away, and showing no aggressive behavior, I can shoot him??

That's pretty close. The human record for that distance is under 4 seconds. I'm guessing a bear could do it about as fast. What constitutes aggression at that distance? Eye contact? Not much time for a rational decision.

34 posted on 05/31/2010 4:48:28 PM PDT by Poison Pill
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