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Bear Shooting Prompts Berkshire County, State Response

Harvey Barrison
Wikimedia Commons
A black bear eating appropriately sourced food- i.e., not a dumpster.

The shooting of a bear last month is stirring strong feelings in Berkshire County. 

According to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, on July 23rd a property owner in Housatonic, a village within Great Barrington, shot a black bear after his attempts to shoo it away from eating out of a dumpster caused the wild animal to approach him.

Great Barrington and Environmental Police were called to the scene, and determined the shooting was legal under state law. The office confirmed that the bear was being fed by a resident of Housatonic. Dave Wattles is the black bear biologist for the state of Massachusetts.

“The thing that can be prevented here is not allowing bear access to food; obviously never intentionally feeding bears,” he told WAMC.

Wattles, who says June is peak bear season, tells WAMC that thoroughly securing garbage cans and birdfeeders will help keep bears at a safe distance.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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