Posted by: stiltsville | December 8, 2009

BOLO: Black bear carcass

Take this Florida roadkill quiz. You’re driving along a highway and see a large, dead bear on the side of the road. Other drivers slow down and gawk in wonder at its hulking bulk. What do you do?

Correct answer: Report it to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at 888-404-3922 and keep driving. An official will be along to remove it.

Last week, Gary Evers, the owner of 1st Quality Plumbing in Orange City, heard about a large, dead black bear on Interstate 4 in Volusia County. He thought he’d like to get it mounted, so he sent his son, Christopher Evers, 27, of Orange City, and two employees to go pick it up. The two employees were Antony M. Pitti Jr., 46, of Port Orange, and Stephen E. Germany, 38, of Cassadaga.

He told the younger Evers, however, to first check with the FWC to see if it was OK for them to take it and get it mounted.

Seminole County Fire Rescue and a Department of Transportation law enforcement officer were already there when Evers, Pitti Jr., and Germany got to the dead bear. The DOT officer told them they could take the carcass, but they needed to check with the FWC.

Somewhere along the way there was a misunderstanding and nobody called the FWC. Instead, the three men just took the dead bear back to the plumbing shop. Another employee, William A. Townsend, 32, of Pierson, skinned it out so the hide could be mounted, and cut the meat into steaks. They put all of the parts into a couple of coolers.

Before long, Gary Evers heard a news report that the FWC was looking for the bear carcass, since it is against the law to pick them up or possess them. That’s when he called the FWC and explained what had happened.

FWC Law Enforcement Officer Chris Goodreau arrived at the scene and gave warnings to Christopher Evers, Pitti, Germany and Townsend for possessing Florida black bear parts.

“Because another law enforcement officer told them they could take the bear, the father called in to report the whole thing, they didn’t try to hide the parts and willingly cooperated with the investigation, I gave them written warnings,” said Goodreau. “They didn’t kill the bear – they just picked it up.”

Officers confiscated the bear remains and disposed of everything except for the hide, which the FWC will use to help educate people about Florida black bears.

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