The question of whether charges will be filed in the case of the September 22 shooting of a bear in the Lakes Basin in Mammoth will be answered by the District Attorney.
The man who shot the bear has claimed self defense, according to Forest Service officials. Mammoth Wildlife Specialist Steve Searles has called the shooting, unprovoked. The Mono County District Attorney will now sort out what happened.
Fish and Game officials have said that a male subject was having a picnic with a female companion, when the sow approached. The couple retreated from the 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 bear4 from a distance of 20 yards, striking the bear in the head, according to the Department of Fish and Game.
Mammoth Police Chief Randy Scheinle has said that he anticipates charges in this case, but right now the case is in the hands of the Mono District Attorneys office.
The Department of Fish Game has finished up their investigation and turned over the work to the Mono District Attorneys Office. Mono DA George Boothe says that he has read the report and that the case is now under review.
This is not the first time a dead bear case has come across the DAs desk for charges. In 2006 a man was charged and sentenced to jail after killing a bear in the Lakes Basin.
Its been over two weeks since this most recent incident, but in the 2006 case it was over a month before charges were filed.
In mid August of 2006, a man from Moreno Valley drove up to the Lakes Basin and shot a bear with a bow, firing three arrows. The man was eventually sentenced to jail time, but in that case, it was over a month between the actual August shooting and when the District Attorneys office filed charges at the end of September. Fish and Game had said that they were investigating hunting related charges. The DAs office at the time looked into other charges as well, but in the end the man, who had a bear tag, was charged with three misdemeanors related to the illegal discharge of a firearm.
It was not until March of 2007 that the man was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
In this current case, investigations continue and it may be a few weeks until the DAs office decides whether or not to pursue charges.