Hampden resident not charged after killing bear

Most bear sightings have been reported in Hampshire County

HAMPDEN, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts Environmental Police say they won’t take any action against the property owner who shot and killed a bear that damaged his $1,800 bee hive last weekend.

The Massachusetts Department of Wildlife investigated and found no fault with the bee-keeper’s decision to kill the bear. Ralph Taylor said, “Massachusetts General Laws allow homeowners under Mass. General Law 137 to destroy offending wildlife if they’re destroying property of theirs.”

Taylor said bears intrude into backyards looking for food every day in western Massachusetts.

Keith Healy of South Hadley told 22News he’s removed all sources of food that would attract a hungry bear to his yard; “Absolutely, we don’t feed the birds anymore, and inside we let the bear pass by and be done with it.”

However, there’s more to discouraging bears in your backyard than just denying them a free meal. “We try to recommend people stay in the house, make some loud noise. If the bear hasn’t been too habituated to people they’ll probably move on. The real problem comes when bears have been around people for too long.”

Most western Massachusetts bear sightings have been reported in Hampshire County. Northampton area homeowners have gotten so used to seeing bears, Taylor said complaint calls have fallen off considerably.

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