VIDALIA, La. (AP) - A Monterey man entered a guilty plea Thursday in the killing of a 14-year-old Louisiana black bear.
Authorities said the female bear had been killed and burned. A collar that wildlife authorities had placed on the bear had been removed.
The Natchez Democrat reports (https://bit.ly/1pZi9YV) that 24-year-old Duell Moreland pleaded guilty Thursday. He had turned himself in to Concordia Parish officials in November after Louisiana wildlife officials obtained a warrant for his arrest.
Judge Kathy Johnson sentenced Moreland to 60 days in the parish prison, two years of probation, a $950 fine and a $10,000 civil restitution fee Moreland will pay to the state’s Black Bear Program. His lifetime hunting license was suspended for five years.
Agents began investigating after receiving a mortality signal from a black bear radio collar last fall.
A mortality signal is sent after a certain amount of inactivity.
Agents said at the time of the investigation, they found the collar and a burn pile containing bear remains near a hunting camp. The agents also noticed an abandoned pickup truck on the property that they traced to Moreland.
District Attorney Brad Burget said the investigation of the case led his office to uncover Moreland shot the bear with a crossbow near a camp in Wildsville
The bear’s collar was cut with a butcher knife sometime before or after the animal was dragged through the woods where Moreland eventually set up a pile of wood and covered the animal’s body with gasoline before setting it on fire.
Burget said the guilty plea came just before Moreland’s trial was to begin on Thursday.
“Mr. Moreland had a lifetime hunting license, which meant if he got the full penalty, he would have had a lifetime hunting ban,” Burget said. “I was hoping for a lifetime ban and the maximum jail time, which is 120 days.”
Information from: Natchez Democrat, https://www.natchezdemocrat.com/
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