Bear Is Killed by Motorist

Many Marvel, Some Leer

By Gary Meyer

The body of a bear killed on Frazier Mountain Park Road Friday evening, Aug. 19, caused Saturday morning motorists to stop and cautiously approach it, just west of Grand Terrace Estates, between Lebec and Frazier Park.

Tom Langsfeld pulled off the road at about 10:10 a.m., at the scene, to inform sheriff’s deputies that he had hit the bear the night before.

“I’m the one who hit the bear,” Langsfeld said as he got out of his truck. “You hit the bear?” the deputy said. “Yes,” Langsfeld replied.

“OK, let me get your name,” the deputy said as Langsfeld began reporting to the deputy what happened Friday night.

Meanwhile, motorists were stopping for photo opportunities with the dead animal, some posing as if they were hunters with a big game trophy.

Senior Deputy Doug Jauch wasn’t amused. “I’ll try to find something back at the substation to cover it up with—hopefully that will prevent some of this,” he said motioning to the crowd forming around the bear. Jauch said Department of Fish and Game had been notified but he’d been informed they weren’t coming, so Kern County Roads Department was going to come pick up the animal.

Langsfeld told The Mountain Enterprise it was about 8:30 or 9:30 p.m. as he was driving home, westbound on Frazier Mountain Park Road. “I was driving along and it just darted right out in front of me,” Langsfeld said. He pointed to the damage on the front end of his truck. A solid iron tow hook, anchored to the frame of the truck, was bent.

Photos were sent to the newspaper by numerous passersby, including Elena Abreu of Lockwood Valley, Michelle Nosco of Arts for Earth Foundation and Don Eubank, occasional Around Town columnist and host of the Saturday Yard Sale Show on CalNeva cable television.

Calls were received at The Mountain Enterprise on Saturday morning about the bear, one resident saying she had called the sheriff’s department and was told Department of Fish and Game would not be picking up the bear and that “people could do with the bear whatever they wanted.” The Mountain Enterprise called Kern County Sheriff’s Department to verify this and the control center operator assured us that nobody would have been told that people could do what they want with the bear.

The taking or possession of any part of a bear, without a valid hunting license and a bear tag, is considered poaching in California, punishable by a year in jail and thousands of dollars in fines. Accidental killings involving vehicles are not considered poaching.

California Department of Fish and Game ultimately picked up the animal late Saturday afternoon.

This is part of the August 26, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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