Dave's Warden Report, Vol 3


Not everyone who baits is a violator, but all violators bait.

On November 13, 1987, I (Conservation Warden Dave Sabrowsky) received a complaint through the mail that Victor Doolittle had recently been overheard talking in the tavern that he had killed a bear with his bow. The anonymous complaint also stated that Victor did not have a bear harvest permit and the bear was cut up and in Victor's freezer.

I was familiar with Victor Doolittle, having cited him a few times in the past. I also was aware of the fact that Victor had recently been arrested for selling drugs, had a drinking problem, and those were his good traits. Although the information wasn't from a known reliable source or very specific, I decided I had nothing to lose by interviewing the suspect.

On November 16, 1987, Special Warden Phil Migas and I visited Victors residence on Post Lake. We were warmly greeted by Victor and when he asked what he could do for us I explained to him that we were there because of a complaint on him shooting a bear illegally. Victor never denied shooting a bear, but asked who the information came from. The lack of denial gave me confidence that we just might accomplish something concerning this complaint.

I explained to Victor that I could not give out that information. I also told Victor that we were obligated to follow up on all complaints. Victor Doolittle invited us in to look around. I asked Victor if he had a freezer and he stated that the only one he had was the refrigerator freezer.

Victor showed us the refrigerator freezer and I asked him if we could look. Victor opened the freezer door and I observed several aluminum wrapped packages. The packages were bound by freezer tape. The first one I could read was labeled "BR".

"Does BR stand for bear roast", I asked.

Victor replied, "That means big roast" I pulled out the next package and that one was labeled "B"

I smiled and asked, "Now what would B stand for"?

Victor smiled back and said, "B stands for big".

I laughed, Phil laughed, and even Victor laughed.

I said, "Victor, you know I can take this meat to the crime lab and they'll have no trouble telling me if it's bear meat.

Victor said, "I won't lie to you guys, that's the bear I shot". It kept coming to my deer bait so I shot it. I could use the meat anyway. Victor said he was trying to turn his life around and that is why he wouldn't lie to us. The meat was seized and charges were filed later.

So why talk about this case? As the popularity of deer baiting grew the number of illegal bear shooting complaints increased proportionately. This complaint was resolved quickly because the suspect was unusually cooperative. More often than not the suspect will deny everything and rarely is there physical evidence to assist in the investigation. Many complaints indicate the baiters are gut shooting the bears so they leave the area to die. Then they can get back to the serious sport of deer hunting over corn or apples. Even though corn, apples, carrots, etc. are placed for the deer, bear have no reservations about eating any and all types of food.

Next week I'll talk about another bear shooting case where the deer baiter shot a sow and a cub.

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