Agents cite three for illegal harvest of Black Bear

Published 2:26 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2022

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By Adam Einck

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

ST. FRANCISVILLE, La — Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited two men and a juvenile on Nov. 21 for their alleged roles in the illegal shooting of a Louisiana Black Bear in West Feliciana Parish.

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Agents cited Justin A. Olano, 24, of Livonia, and Robert J. Salts II, 41, of Pearl River, for intentional concealment of wildlife.  Agents also cited Salts II for contributing to the delinquency of a minor and his son for taking a Louisiana Black Bear during a closed season.

Agents obtained evidence about the illegal shooting and dumping of a black bear west of St. Francisville near the Mississippi River.  During the investigation, agents found a black bear skull in a creek near Cat Island Road and determined the bear was taken from Olano’s property.

Agents questioned Olano about the bear and learned that Salts II and his 15-year-old son were deer hunting on his property recently.  Agents then questioned Salts II and his son and discovered that they were deer hunting on Olano’s property on Nov. 5 when Salts’ II son shot at a silhouette of an animal moving through the area they were hunting, which turned out to be a black bear.  Salts II then made contact with Olano about the situation and they decided to load up the bear and dump it in the creek off Cat Island Road.

Hunters are advised to always identify their targets before pulling the trigger for any wildlife they may be hunting.  Some Louisiana Black Bears are part of a long-term monitoring program that provides researchers with information on black bear populations, productivity and population viability in the state of Louisiana.

Taking a bear during a closed season and intentional concealment of wildlife brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail for each offense.  Contributing to the delinquency of a minor carries up to a $500 fine and six months in jail.

Olano and Salts II may also face civil restitution for the replacement value of the illegally taken black bear totaling $10,000.

Agents participating in the case are Lt. Will Roberts, Senior Agent Nicholas Firmin and Sgt. Mason Spillman.