Fish and Game officials have confirmed many of the details regarding the bear killed by a visitor at Lake Mary Tuesday evening. The incident remains under investigation, and at press time no charges had been filed.
We spoke to Kyle Orr with Fish and Game this afternoon he explained that no charges had been filed, but charges have not been ruled out either.
Of the incident, Orr says that a male subject was having a picnic with a female companion, when the sow approached. The couple retreated from what Orr says was a 175 pound animal which then proceeded to eat their food. Another unknown person saw what was happening and approached and offered to scare or haze the bear away and did so.
When the bear returned, the man went to his vehicle and retrieved a large caliber, pistol and shot the sow from a distance of 20 yards, striking the bear in the head, said DFG’s Orr.
Nancy Upham with the Forest Service reports that the man has claimed self defense but says that if the game warden decides that the shooting was not self defense, there could be a hefty fine. Mammoth Wildlife Manager Steve Searles has said that there was no bluff charge or swipes by the bear towards the people.
Mammoth Police report that the man, a resident of Victorville, called Mono dispatch to report the incident and stayed on scene until officers arrived.
The Forest Service could charge the man for discharging a firearm in the Lakes Basin. The Lakes Basin is inside the jurisdiction of the Town of Mammoth, so police could file firearm charges as well, but it appears that both are waiting to see the result of the Fish and Game investigations.
Orr couldnt speculate as to when the investigation would wrap up. He did explain that the investigation results would be turned over to the Mono District Attorneys office if the facts turn out to warrant that action.