In our Thursday newspaper, we had a story about a black bear which had been shot in the Beach Lake area and just dumped along the road.
Pennsylvania Fish & Game officers were called to the area to a report of "roadkill" but then found the large bear which had been shot.
Two of the officers took the time to bring the bear to this newspaper and allow us to do a story about this situation. We applaud them for taking the time to come here and tell us the story.
This is nothing more than a story of stupidity.
For one, who in their right mind would shoot this bear? What could possibly be the reason?
It's hard to get inside the minds of people who commit crimes like shooting a bear. Some people simply have no respect for animals and will kill anything.
Others likely think this is a "macho" thing to do, again, stupidity.
There is nothing macho about pulling out a gun and shooting a defenseless animal. In fact, it is just the opposite. Cowardice comes to mind.
Bears are a part of the culture of northeastern Pennsylvania and they do help our environment. As hard as that is to believe for some, they do good things.
Additionally, the fish and wildlife experts who work for the state have programs in place to handle bears which wonder into populated areas.
If you think about it, the expansion of Wayne County in the last 20 years has made populated places more prevalent than ever.
Fifty years ago, the bears had a lot of room to roam. But today, there are houses and developments located throughout the county. We have effectively shrunk their habitat.
That means people have to find a way to cope with the bears.
Page 2 of 3 - The best way is to use common sense.
Bears seek food so eliminating food sources is the top priority. If you live in a rural area, make sure your garbage can is either inside or has a tight lid. That is simple and takes very little effort.
Another very common sense thing to do is avoid the bears. If you see a bear, steer clear and take shelter.
Bears don't want anything to do with humans for the most part. But if they feel threatened, things can get ugly very quickly.
If you see a bear in your yard, stay inside and alert fish and game authorities about the animal.
It was sad on Wednesday to see those game officials drive up to our office with a dead bear on a platform. Ironically, attached to another truck, they had a bear trap.
That's what these game wardens are here for — to protect the animals and the public.
They would have much rather trapped the bear in Beach Lake and released it into a less populated area. Instead, they had to go there and retrieve a dead bear — one which was killed for no good reason.
Now, they will focus their efforts on finding the person or persons responsible for this senseless act.
If there is a positive to that, in rural areas like this, people tend to talk. The person or persons who did this will almost certainly say something at some point — most likely with alcohol involved.
We are asking the public to join the game wardens in finding out who was responsible for the killing of the bear. Keep your eyes, and most importantly your ears, open. Somebody out there knows something and they need to pay for committing this crime.
If you do have information on this incident, contact Officer Jim McCarthy at 570-675-1143 and give him the information.
Page 3 of 3 - They want to bring those responsible to justice and it's going to take input from the public to make that happen.
We hope they can bring this case to court and extend the full punishment of the law to whoever was involved. They deserve that fate, unlike the fate they gave to the innocent bear.