WOODFIN, N.C. (WSPA) – Wildlife officials have charged a man after three bears were found dismembered in western North Carolina.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission said the bears were killed illegally and their carcasses were dumped in the town of Woodfin in late November.
John Robert Bunkley, Jr. was charged with three counts of unlawful transportation, three counts of unlawful possession, littering, attempt to take deer closed season, three counts of failure to register, three counts of failure to validate, take sow bear with cubs at its side, two counts of over limit bear, no hunting license, no big game license.
“The carcasses were dismembered, the paws were left on the scene, and the meat was removed to the extent that the bears’ weight and cause of death could not be determined,” said Mindy Wharton with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
The bears were found in a wooded area off of Moore Street.
“We noticed a bear cub laying in the road here,” said nearby resident Brian Bullman. “Upon further inspection, we saw the remains of another cub and what appeared to be a mother bear dumped at the base of the tree.”
Bullman said he also found a bucket of bear intestines near the bodies.
“It was a pretty ugly scene,” said Bullman.
The commission issued a statement Friday thanking the community for information on the case.
“The community response was incredible, and we are appreciative of the information given to Help Asheville Bears that led us to the suspect,” the statement said.
Help Asheville Bears, a non-profit working to stop illegal bear trapping, had offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.