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Joe Manchin III, Governor

Frank Jezioro, Director


News Release : January 9, 2007


Hoy Murphy , Public Information Officer (304) 558-3381
Col. David Murphy, Law Enforcement Section Chief (304) 558-2784

Nicholas County Man Fined for Poaching Black Bear

A Nicholas County man has been convicted and received a hefty fine for illegally killing a black bear, according to Captain Mike Pizzino of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Section District 3 Office in Elkins.

Conservation Officer Tim White headed the investigation that led to the arrest and conviction of 46-year old Bernard H. Backus II of Belva , West Virginia . As part of a plea bargain in Nicholas County Magistrate Court in December, Backus was fined $5,000, the maximum allowable for a first offense violation of the state’s bear management laws, and ordered to pay $500 for replacement of the bear and court costs of $160.50. He was also ordered to pay $118 for a scientific test that was performed on the bones of the animal.

The bear was killed out of season in July 2006, in the Twenty Mile area of Nicholas County . The bones of the animal had been burned in an attempt to destroy the evidence. The bones were collected and sent to a forensic lab in British Columbia , Canada , for DNA testing. Three eyewitnesses also gave statements in the case.


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