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April 2, 2014

Man arraigned for bear poaching

MANISTEE — A Macomb County man who’s accused of illegally shooting and killing a black bear in Manistee County has been arraigned in 85th District Court in Manistee County.

Authorities said James Earl May, 33, illegally shot a black bear without a permit and also used too much deer bait during a Nov. 16 bear-poaching incident in Manistee County during the firearm deer hunting season. May shot and killed a bear and left it to die in the woods, authorities said. He will appear at a pre-trial exam in 85th District Court on April 9.

A DNR news release said conservation officer Carla Soper originally responded to a complaint of a black bear dead in the woods in Manistee County.

The DNR issued a statewide release that sought information and May contacted the investigating officer shortly afterward.

Soper interviewed him and presented her case to the Manistee County prosecutor.

The prosecutor’s office issued an arrest warrant for May on the charges of taking a bear without a permit and use of excessive deer bait. Conservation officer Kris Kiel arrested May at his Macomb County residence on March 2.

The bear died of a shotgun wound near a hunting blind on public land in Cleon Township. Witnesses said the bear was killed on Nov. 16 at approximately 5:30 p.m. Three bear cubs are believed to have been orphaned as a result of the bear being killed, although the cubs were not located.

Poaching bear in Michigan carries a restitution payment of $1,500 per bear, a minimum $200 fine and jail time of up to 90 days. In addition, a violator’s hunting privileges may be suspended for up to three years.

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