West Michigan hunter charged with shooting bear near cubs

FILE PHOTO (AP/Toby Talbot)

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COLFAX TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD)— An experienced hunter from the Zeeland area is now charged for allegedly shooting a black bear sow while her cubs were nearby.

Derek Hassevoort, 27, waived his arraignment Wednesday. Hassevoort is charged with the unlawful taking of a bear, which is a misdemeanor.

A conservation officer for Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources said the hunter shot the sow in the woods of Oceana County’s Colfax Township on Sept. 23. While Hassevoort had a valid license and shot the bear in season, state law dictates he cannot shoot a sow who is accompanied by her cubs.

State officials say Hassevoort took the bear to a DNR station in Baldwin for inspection. There, he told workers there were no cubs nearby when he shot the sow. However, a tip to the DNR led to further investigation, and the hunter later admitted he lied and there were cubs with the sow when he shot it, DNR officials said.

Courtesy photo of the black bear sow that was killed by a Zeeland hunter.
Courtesy photo of the black bear sow that was killed by a Zeeland hunter.

If convicted, Hassevoort faces up to 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine and may need to pay $1,500 in restitution to the state. He could also lose all of his Michigan hunting licenses for the next three years and be forced to give up the weapon he used to kill the bear.

Hassevoort is expected back in court in November.

Attempts to contact him for comment at his home and over the phone on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

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