ERIE, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Game Commission officials recently announced Kevin Michael Hicks, 40, of Little Creek Road in Erie, was charged with unlawfully killing a black bear.
Charges were filed on June 9, before District Judge James J. Dwyer III in Erie. Hicks was charged with unlawfully killing a bear as he failed to meet justifications provided for by law that allows for the “killing of game or wildlife to protect person.”
If convicted of the first-degree summary offense, Hicks faces penalties of between $1,000 and $1,500, and possible restitution costs.
“The offense occurred on June 2, at Hicks’ residence in Summit Township around 9 p.m.,” said Wildlife Conservation Officer Larry Smith. “The Game and Wildlife Code is very specific in stating that killing wildlife in self-defense is only permitted when the facts support that a human is endangered to a degree that the immediate destruction is necessary. Based on the investigation, the facts of the case do not support that standard.”
Resident black bears are found throughout northwestern Pennsylvania, including Erie County. Bears need not be feared, but they must be respected. Spring and early summer are the times when bears are on the move to locate food and establish new territories in conjunction with the breeding season.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission website, www.pgc.state.pa.us, has an excellent brochure titled “Living with Pennsylvania Black Bears.”
Go to the “Self-Help” tab; follow to “Your Property and Wildlife” to “Living with Black Bears.” The brochure provides educational and helpful tips on co-existing with this valuable Pennsylvania resource.