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Police search for killer of 400-pound black bear

Stock image of American black bear courtesy of Pixabay

Authorities in Maryland are searching for a bear poacher after a 400-pound black bear was found fatally shot on Sunday, officials said.

The male bear, about 7 years old, was found in the morning by someone riding a bike in the Frederick City watershed near Cold Deer Road, Maryland Natural Resources Police spokeswoman Candy Thomson wrote in an email.

Maryland made it legal to hunt black bears in 2004 "to slow the growth of western Maryland's growing black bear population," according to the state's Department of Natural Resources. Permits to hunt the animals are awarded each year, and the 2017 season ran from October 23 to October 26 in Frederick, Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties.

The slain bear weighed more than 400 pounds and had been dead less than 24 hours, according to Thomson. She said 131 bears were killed during this year's hunt, and the average weight was 152 pounds.

"The illegally killed bear was quite large," she wrote in an email.

A person who kills a black bear illegally could face charges of failure to report the wounding or killing of a black bear and might be charged restitution fees of $1,500.