Dave's Warden Report, Vol 7


On September 29, 2001, at approximately 10:30 a.m. I (Warden Dave Sabrowsky) received a phone call from an individual who identified himself as Gregg Cross. Gregg casually stated that he had shot two bear that evening and wanted to know if we wanted to come and get them or just let them rot in the woods.


I never had a more bizarre call in my career and wasn’t certain I heard correctly so I shook my head to clear any obstructions, cleaned the wax from my ears, and asked the caller to explain.

Gregg Cross stated that bears had kept him in his bow stand the previous year for an hour and a half, that he had found tracks around his cabin, so he had gone to his bow-stand that evening with a rifle. A sow with three cubs had approached his stand and they wouldn’t leave when he banged his bow against the tree. He even threw an apple at the sow but that didn’t work either so he shot the sow first and then one of the cubs. He felt the sow was dead because she went right down.

Gregg described the event with giddiness in his voice, almost like bragging. I couldn’t believe how cavalier he was about the whole thing.

I then asked where this had taken place and Gregg indicated that he had been hunting on his 40 acres in southeastern Langlade County. Since this had occurred in Warden Bill Lazarz’s area, I advised Gregg I would call Bill Lazarz and he in turn would call him.

A short time after I called Bill, he called back, and we agreed to meet at the Sawyer Lake boat landing at 7:00a.m. and then proceed to Gregg’s cabin.

On Sunday, September 30th, Bill and I met with Gregg at his cabin and he then lead us to his bow-stand. Gregg had a bow-stand approximately 250 yards from his cabin. Gregg showed us his permanent stand, a bait pile of apples located approximately 35-40 feet west of the stand, where the cub was "playing" (his words), and where he had shot the sow.

We asked Gregg again to describe the events of the previous evening and he stated that the sow and three cubs approached his stand. The cubs went to the bait, and the sow was walking towards his stand from below and to the south. He banged his bow against the tree and threw an apple at one of the cubs but they didn’t leave. When the sow was 30 feet away he shot her with the .30-06 rifle he had brought along and then turned and shot one of the cubs. He thought the sow should be dead because she went right down. Again, Gregg sounded proud, almost bragging, about what he had done the previous evening.

We found the spot where he had shot the sow. At this point I had enough of Gregg and needed to get away from him. I suggested that I would track the sow while he and Gregg looked for the cub.

I was able to follow the blood trail for approximately 300 yards until losing blood in a spruce/tamarack swamp. I circled several times but just never found anymore blood.

I returned to the cabin and Bill arrived a short time later with the cub strapped to the front of the ATV. The cub had been shot through the shoulders from left to right. Bill asked Gregg to sit in the truck so they could talk. I left to try and find a logging road near the area where I had lost the blood trail but failed to do so.

When I returned to Gregg’s cabin he and Bill were still in the truck so I walked over to listen. Gregg had been so nonchalant concerning the whole episode, but when it started to dawn on him that he just may have done something wrong, his whole demeanor changed. Now he had shot in self-defense because the bears where charging. (The cub that he described as playing must have been charging sideways because it was shot through the shoulders). I explained to Gregg that the reason the bears were there was because of the bait. He was attracting them in the first place. Bill had asked him if he had fired a round into the ground to try to scare them. Gregg said no.

I told Gregg that it was in his favor that he had called, and I could understand concern for a sow with cubs, but shooting a cub after shooting the sow was a bit hard to accept. I also told him that he had several options for handling the situation but he had not picked a very good option. I then left.

I write this story to illustrate yet another problem that has resulted from deer baiting. Contacts between hunters and bear have increased tremendously as deer baiting increased. Some hunters shoot the bear because they are afraid of bear. Some bow hunters are gut shooting the bear just to get them out of the area. Some just shoot and leave them lay. Some shoot and then find someone with a tag to legalize the bear. The bottom line is another Law Enforcement problem has been created and the honest sportsman is the loser.

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

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