Cash reward triples in case of decapitated bear

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The cash reward for tips in the case of the decapitated black bear, killed while hibernating inside a northern Wisconsin culvert, has tripled in recent weeks as Department of Natural Resources wardens continue their investigation.

The Star Prairie Fish and Game Association was the first organization to offer a $500 reward to the individual or individuals whose tip to the wardens results in the conviction of the person or persons responsible for the February poaching of the bear in St. Croix County.

More groups and private parties in recent weeks have added to the cash reward total as the story spread about the killing of the sleeping bear. The Mid-State Houndsmen Association has added $250 to the cash reward total. The Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association also has committed $500 in a cash reward. And, an additional $500 has been provided by private parties. The total cash reward for tips leading to a conviction stands at $1,750.

The bear was discovered on February 24 after DNR wardens got a call. The wardens found the body of the bear, which had been freshly killed and missing its head, in a ditch just off Rice Lake Road in Somerset Township.

Wardens report evidence at the scene indicates the bear was illegally shot while hibernating inside a culvert west of Star Prairie on County Highway H, then dragged from the culvert and taken to another location where its head was removed. Since the bear’s weight was estimated to be 250 to 300 pounds, the wardens say it would have taken more than one person to remove and to transport the bear.

The Star Prairie Fish & Game Association began the cash reward with the condition the tips must be made to the Department of Natural Resources. The reward will be made through the DNR wardens. If you have any information related to this crime, please contact the DNR Hotline at 1-800-TIP-WDNR. Callers can remain anonymous.

If you have information regarding any natural resource violations, please call:VIOLATION HOTLINE: 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367.

The hotline is in operation24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trained staff relay reported information to conservation wardens. Anyone who calls the Violation Hotline or provides informationcan remain anonymous.