Black bears used to roam this neck of the woods.  The majestic omnivores were at the tip-top of the food chain until a formidable new challenger arrived.  That challenger is you.  Maybe not you in particular, but man definitely had something to do with the decline of Black Bear numbers in Northern Louisiana and Texas.

There is good news though:  Black Bear numbers and sightings have been on the rise.  So much so, that wildlife officials have been considering removing them from the protected list.  That hasn't happened yet, so just to be clear - at this time, it is ILLEGAL TO SHOOT AND KILL A BLACK BEAR.

Apparently that warning was lost on a father and son from New Iberia, Louisiana.  In 2015 officials discovered that a Black Bear was shot and killed, but had no leads on the perpetrator of the crime.  Elie P. Dupre, 59, of New Iberia was arrested on a (seemingly) unrelated charge of night hunting 2 years ago.  As a part of that investigation, his rifle was confiscated and a series of ballistic tests were run.  Ballistic tests were run on the bullet that brought down the black bear as well, but it wasn't until this week that the results of those two tests were compared.  Lo and behold, officials determined that the deadly bullet was fired from Mr. Dupre's rifle.  Investigators also determined that Elie's 15 year old son was with his father when the bear was brought down.

Even though the U.S. Interior Department said in March 2016 that the species had recovered enough to no longer need protection, this offense occurred well before that. The infraction could carry a punishment of 120 days in jail and a $950 fine, plus up to $10,000 in civil restitution for the bear's value.