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Bear Facts: Was animal killed illegally, or was it self-defense?

Richard Ahlstrand, a 76-year-old Massachusetts man, is charged with illegally killing a bear in his backyard.
CBS Boston
(CBS) AUBURN - A central Massachusetts man is charged with illegally killing a bear in his backyard, CBS Boston reported.

But 76-year-old Richard Ahlstrand says he had no choice - but otherwise, the bear would have killed him.

Ahlstrand told the station he was stocking his bird feeder Friday night when a bear about seven feet tall and 300-to-400 pounds started chasing him.

That's when he turned his shotgun on the bear.

"I didn't have time to aim through the sights, but I aimed in the direction of the head on this thing and I pulled the trigger before it got to me. It just dropped," he told CBS Boston.

Ahlstrand said he was carrying the shotgun Friday night because he thought he saw the bear in his yard the night before.

"If that ever jumped on me, I wouldn't even be here right know, I don't think. I know it was going to seriously maul me," he said.

Ahlstrand is charged with illegally killing a bear, illegally baiting a bear, illegal possession of a firearm and failing to secure a weapon.

Authorities believed the female bear had cubs. Ahlstrand says he feels bad about that, but he believes he being unfairly labeled.

"They got me set up now like I'm some kind of murderer. And then the environmental guy told me 'You should have called me instead of shooting it.' What was I going to do, say 'Mister Bear would excuse me please while I go make a phone call?'"

Police don't believe the bear was a threat to people.

  • Barry Leibowitz

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