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Bear shot to death by angler at Lake Mary in Mammoth Lakes area

September 24, 2009 | 11:02 am
A 175-pound adult female black bear was shot to death Tuesday afternoon by a 58-year-old visitor to Lake Mary near the Eastern Sierra town of Mammoth Lakes.

Steve Searles, wildlife manager for Mammoth Lakes, described the shooting as "unprovoked," according to a report on the Sierra Wave website.

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The California Department of Fish and Gam is investigating the case. The department's Lt. Marty Markham said this morning in an interview that the man and his companion were frightened away from a spot on the lake's shore by an approaching bear. Another person helped "haze" the bear away.

The couple returned to the site and the bear returned. The woman tried to "haze" the bear away. The man retrieved a large-caliber handgun from his vehicle and shot the bear once in the head.

Markham said the investigation should be complete within a week, and could not say whether charges will be brought against the man, whom Markham would describe only as a 58-year-old from San Bernardino County.

Don Barrett, who runs Lake Mary Marina & Store, did not witness the shooting but was at the lake and heard the shot. Barrett, in an interview, said he heard that the bear was aggressive and standing on its hind legs approaching the couple when it was shot with a .44-caliber pistol.

Barrett said bears have learned to frighten anglers from their fishing spots, then steal their stringers of fish.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: A bear near South Lake Tahoe, Calif., last year. Credit: Associated Press

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