Deputy shoots bear by mistake
October 31, 2011
A Douglas County deputy thought he was firing a wildlife control round when he accidentally shot a bear using a rifled slug on Friday night in an incident at Tahoe Shores Mobile Home Park.
Deputies responded to a 10 p.m. report that several nuisance bears were raiding the mobile home park, located at Stateline.
According to the sheriff’s report, one of the people reporting the bears said the bear was inside his garage tearing things up.
When deputies arrived, they found three bears, one of which they were able to scare off using loud noises and lights.
The other two bears went up a tree.
A deputy attempted to frighten the bears off using approved rubber wildlife control bullets from his shotgun.
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The projectile hit the bear, but the bear didn’t run away, according to Sheriff’s Spokesman Jim Halsey.
A second deputy fired a rubber round at the same bear, but had the same result. The second deputy then fired what he thought was a wildlife control round, but it turned out to be a rifled slug, which injured the bear, which had to be dispatched.
Halsey said deputies respond to hundreds of bear calls each year, and they’ve successfully used the rubber bullets to help frighten bears away from people.
Normally, deputies load two rubber rounds into the shotgun and then two rifled slugs. Those bullets are in the shotgun in case the bear charges deputies.
Halsey said that in the darkness, the deputy stacked the rounds incorrectly and therefore fired the wrong slug.
This incident is currently under investigation with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.