An elderly man was arrested for shooting a bear in his Auburn, Massachusetts backyard. Richard Ahlstrand, age 76, reportedly shot the bear out of fear for his life.
Ahlstrand was out in the yard replenishing the seed in his bird feeders. He heard something moving around and noticed a black bear had wandered into his yard. He reportedly went back inside his home, retrieved his shotgun, and killed the bear.
As reported by the Washington Times, Ahlstrand has been charged with illegal possession of a firearm, failure to secure a weapon, illegally baiting a bear, and illegally killing a bear.
Ahlstrand states that the a representative from the Massachusetts Division of Wildlife suggested that he should have contacted authorities about the situation, rather than handling it himself. The elderly man contends that he killed the bear in self-defense. He reports that the 300 pound bear was charging toward him when he shot it in the head.
Despite his assertion that it was self-defense, the elderly man was arrested for shooting the bear in his backyard. As reported by CBS News, Authorities later confirmed that it was a female black bear that wound not have have posed a threat to Ahlstrand or anyone else.
The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries Wildlife provides Massachusetts residents with information that can assist in dealing with black bears. Wildlife officials describe black bears as curious and adaptable. This can lead to associating humans with food. Not that they would like to eat the humans, but they gain the understanding that humans often leave food around.
Wildlife officials note an increased incidence of black bear encounters in residential areas. This is attributed to human expansion into the bears' natural habitat. The bears' natural food sources have been compromised so they wander into residential areas in search of food.
Black bears typically feed from trash cans, compost bins, grills, picnic areas, and even bird feeders. The black bear in Mr. Ahlstrand's yard may have simply been looking for food.
Ahlstrand is facing several criminal charges for shooting the black bear in his yard. Although he feels bad for killing the animal, which may have had cubs, he felt it was necessary at the time.
[Image via Wikimedia]