By Robin Alberti
KILLINGTON—Spring has been fickle this year and came late, creating a shortage of native food for them to eat. Consequently, many homeowners and businesses have been reporting bears getting into their trashcans and Dumpsters around the area.
Last Wednesday, May 9, a large black bear was seen lying in a field just south of the Mountain Times on Route 4 in Killington. Many motorists stopped to watch or take pictures.
Bears typically stick to the woods during the day and avoid being seen by people, so this was an unusual sighting. Earlier that same day, Fish and Wildlife received calls that a bear was spotted on Schoolhouse Road and by Killington Mountain School on Killington Road.
Game Warden Abigail Serra was called to the scene to investigate.
After observing the bear for a while, she determined that the bear was in obvious pain, and quickly euthanized him with a few shots from her rifle.
When interviewed at the scene, Serra said she planned to do a more thorough investigation to try and determine the cause of the distress, which led to his humane destruction.
When asked what would happen to the remains, she said, “We like to give the meat to a family who could use the food. We salvage the meat whenever possible. We will check stomach contents first to make sure the bear didn’t eat something to make it sick and that the meat is safe to eat.”
The Mountain Times spoke with Game Warden Abigail Serra again on May 15 to follow up on her findings.
“There was trauma to the front teeth, and the bear’s claws where scraped up,” she said. “This can happen from a motor vehicle incident, but none was reported so we don’t know conclusively if that is what happened. When I examined stomach contents. I just found dead leaves and nothing unusual.”
The bear was a male, approximately 300 pounds. Serra said she collected a tooth that would be sent to a lab to determine the age of the bear. A small cross-section of the tooth is analyzed to determine the age by counting rings, similar to antlers in a deer or the rings of a tree.
Serra also said that a resident who had stopped by the scene had asked if he could have the meat and took possession of it.
“We cannot donate meat unless it is processed by a USDA-approved butcher, and we just don’t have that in our budget,” she explained. “But folks interested in meat from recovered animals can contact their local game warden and get on a list to be called if an animal becomes available. If they can process it themselves they are welcome to the meat. We don’t like to see anything go to waste.”
Photo by Paul Holmes
This large bear was spotted near the Killington Elementary School parking lot, Wednesday, May 9. It could be the same bear that was euthanized later that day.