N.H. Fish and Game Defends Fatal Shooting of Bear Cubs Near Homes in Manchester

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Manchester, n.h. — Officials with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department on Thursday defended shooting dead two bears that were running to a busy roadway, saying they posed a danger to motorists.

Fish and Game Executive Director Glenn Normandeau said a biologist shot the bears on Tuesday because they were running into traffic on Route 3A in Manchester. Agents first responded to reports that the bears were in a tree early in the day and left, hoping they would eventually leave with their mother. The bears did come down but reportedly remained in the area in Manchester near an apartment building, retail stores and homes. When spotted again, the bears took off running toward Route 3A and were shot dead, officials said.

“He shot them so they wouldn’t cause a traffic accident,” said Normandeau, describing the unidentified biologist as someone with decades of experience and not “somebody we dragged off the street, gave a gun and said, ‘Go shoot problem bears.’ ”

“He didn’t shoot these bears because he wanted to. He shot because of legitimate concern for public safety, which is our responsibility,” Normandeau said. “Now, you never know. He could have let them run out there and see what happened. But 3A is a pretty crazy road.”

Residents of a nearby apartment complex, including Sandy and John Pelletier, said they heard the gunshots and were concerned that the biologist shot so close to where people live. The Manchester residents questioned why the biologist didn’t use a tranquilizer.

“I find them shooting the bear, the person shooting the bear between two apartment complexes, with a couple hundred apartments between us, that violated every rule that I know,” John Pelletier said.

Normandeau dismissed suggestions that less lethal means could have been used. On Thursday, officials tranquilized another cub in Manchester and took it out of a tree, but he said that was different.

“There isn’t an alternative in a situation with two bears running,” he added. “The things were running flat out. It’s not Wild Kingdom, you know what I’m saying. You need a bear sitting stock-still to hit it with a dart.”