NCWRC will investigate bear’s death

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 19, 2007

JACKSON – The case of the decapitated bear will be investigated.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) officers are seeking information that will hopefully lead them to person or persons responsible for a bear found decapitated near Jackson on Feb. 27.

Sgt. Carl Hatcher of the NCWRC’s Division of Enforcement told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald that he is proceeding with the investigation of the case. Hatcher oversees the NCWRC officers assigned to Halifax and Northampton counties.

Hatcher said he was just recently informed of the case.

“Whoever informed the public and you (the media) that this case would not be investigated passed along inaccurate information,” Hatcher said. “We are actively investigating this case and are asking for the public’s help in helping us solve this case.”

On the day of the incident (Feb. 27), three individuals telephoned the R-C News-Herald to report the gruesome discovery of a decapitated bear on the shoulder of NC 305 at Cedar Fork near Jackson. Only one caller, Thomas Byrd of Conway, identified himself.

Byrd said the bear, estimated at 400 pounds, was missing its head and paws. He said he rolled the bear from the shoulder of the road and into a ditch.

Upon arriving back at home, Byrd said he called the NCWRC office in Raleigh to report the incident. Byrd said he was told there would be no investigation.

“The bear was still warm, so I knew whoever did this had done it earlier that morning,” Byrd said in an article that was published in the March 3 edition of the R-C News-Herald. “I suspect with the overall lack of a lot of blood at the scene that this killing and decapitation had occurred somewhere else and the body dumped where I found it.”

Sgt. Hatcher did not rule out Byrd’s scenario, but added the bear may have been struck at that location by a vehicle and then someone came along later and cut off the animal’s head and paws.

“We’re checking with the (Northampton) Sheriff’s Office as well as the Highway Patrol to see if there was a report of an accident involving a bear and a vehicle on Feb. 27,” Hatcher said.

Anyone with information on the incident is urged to contact Sgt. Hatcher at 252-583-5277 or Northampton NCWRC Officer Dustin Durham at 252-534-4021. Information can also be passed along to the NCWRC’s toll-free number at 1-800-662-7137.

Bear season ended in December. In the off-season, state law prohibits purposely killing a bear or being in possession of bear parts.