West Virginia’s Mountaineer Jonathan Kimble was told to stop using the school-issued rifle for hunting purposes after the mascot shot a bear with the musket.
It’s no prop, reports CBS News. The West Virginia University Mountaineer carries a real, bona fide musket, and used it to kill a black bear while hunting in the woods. He videotaped the incident and posted it online, causing university officials to reprimand the 24-year-old for employing the musket on his hunting trips.
Kimble says that hunting with the Mountaineer musket is a mascot tradition.
“While Jonathan Kimble’s actions broke no laws or regulations, the university has discussed this with him, and he agrees that it would be appropriate to forego using the musket in this way in the future,” said WVU spokesman John Bolt.
The WVU mascot wears buckskin and a coonskin cap, and fires the musket (loaded with black powder only) at home athletic events and other sponsored activities, reports the LA Times.
Kimble says that he has hunted his whole life, and that his actions weren’t meant to stir up controversy or to offend.
“Hunting can be a controversial topic,” Kimble said. “I apologize to any of those who took offense to the video. It definitely wasn’t my intent to offend anybody.”
Kimble also explained that using the musket on hunting trips is a WVU mascot tradition.
“Other Mountaineers have gone and shot multiple deer with it before. I’ve taken it with me deer hunting before, also.”
Killeda WV Black Bear today with my Mountaineer Rifle today!! twitter.com/WVUMascot/stat…
— Jon Kimble, Mtnr (@WVUMascot) December 4, 2012
Some WVU fans have supported Kimble. “This is a smart young man from West Virginia who did nothing wrong, who was celebrating who he is,” said WVU alumnus Robert Hickman. “If you’re from West Virginia and you love the outdoors, or if you hunt or don’t hunt, or if you fish or don’t fish, it is a celebration of this state. As a former WVU graduate, I’m thrilled to death with him. Happy as can be.”
Johnathan Kimble as the WVU mascot previously had national exposure for an ESPN commercial he starred in as the Mountaineer.
What do you think? Should the WVU mascot be punished for shooting a bear with the musket, or is it a “tradition” we should let slide?