A woman in Oregon and her son were given a fine of $15,000 after the mother encouraged her son to poach two black bear cubs in northwestern Oregon last year.
The 52-year-old woman and her 29-year-old son both lost their hunting privileges but only until February 2026. They are reportedly on probation until February 2028. The pair were convicted of misdemeanor poaching charges this February after they shot and killed two eight-month-old black bear cubs in October 2022, according to a statement from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Gail Faye Freer and Corey Douglas Loving, Jr. were reportedly trespassing on private land when they saw a bear cub walking through some bushes. Loving shot the cub with encouragement from Freer, law enforcement officials told ODFW. They left the carcass and planned to return back later to collect the animal. When they returned, they saw another cub in the same bushes and said they thought it might be the same cub and that it possibly survived the first shot. Loving fired a second round and when they went to the bushes, they discovered that they had actually shot two separate bear cubs. They left the animals to rot.
The Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Troopers found the cubs days later after an anonymous tip was submitted through the Turn In Poachers hotline. Loving was charged with five counts of “taking, angling, hunting, or trapping in violation of wildlife law or rule” to which he pled guilty to in December. However, he re-entered a guilty plea to two charges and was convicted in February, with the other three being dismissed. Freer, on the other hand, pled guilty to one of two charges of the same wildlife violation.
It is illegal for hunters to take bear cubs less than one year old, and it is also illegal to take sows with cubs that are less than one year old. Poaching black bears and their cubs contributes to the decline of the bear population. Many bear species are already vulnerable or endangered, and killing their cubs further threatens their survival. Not to mention that bears play an extremely crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance of their habitats. Removing bear cubs disrupts the balance and can lead to negative consequences for entire ecosystems.
Poaching disrupts the natural bonding and nurturing process between mother bears and their offspring. Poaching wildlife, including black bear cubs, is illegal in most jurisdictions, and penalties can include fines, imprisonment, the loss of hunting licenses, and other consequences. It is a well-known fact that it is illegal to kill cubs, so the fact that these two shot and killed two black bear cubs and were only fined $15,000 and a temporary suspension of their hunting licenses makes us question if these departments even care about these animals.
As stewards of the natural world, we have a moral and ethical responsibility to protect and conserve wildlife.
Sign this petition to demand a ban on bear hunting and implement a non-lethal approach to bear management!
This article by Hailey Kanowsky was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 19 May 2023.
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