By Arden Dier
A Wyoming man is facing up to a year in jail after allegedly killing a protected grizzly bear near Yellowstone National Park. Patrick Gogerty of Cody claims he mistook the 530-pound male grizzly for a black bear, the largest of which generally weigh up to 700 pounds, per the AP. He shot seven times to bring down the bear about 100 yards from a highway leading to Yellowstone’s eastern entrance on May 1, the opening day of black bear hunting season, the outlet reports. He was about 14 miles outside the park boundary, per Newsweek. He said he believed it to be a black bear, which can have brown fur, because it didn’t have the humped back that’s characteristic of grizzlies, according to an affidavit.
However, “when Gogerty went up to the bear and saw the bear’s claws, the pads, and the head of the bear, he realized it was a grizzly bear,” Wyoming game warden Travis Crane wrote in the affidavit filed Thursday, faulting Gogerty for not turning himself in immediately, per the AP. Gogerty turned himself into authorities the day after the hunt, by which time drivers had spotted the bear’s carcass and notified authorities. Needlessly killing a grizzly in the Yellowstone region can bring serious punishments. Gogerty faces up to a year in jail and could be forced to pay up to $25,000 in restitution and a $10,000 fine if convicted of the misdemeanor charge of killing a grizzly bear without a license, per the AP. He’s due in court on Friday.