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Pumpkin the bear was legally killed by a hunter in Hanson, MassWildlife says

Pumpkin the bear "legally" killed by hunter
Pumpkin the bear "legally" killed by hunter 00:39

HANSON - A black bear known as Pumpkin was killed by a hunter using a bow and arrow in Hanson last week, authorities say, not long after the police department said the bear would "have to be euthanized" due to its recent behavior.

A MassWildlife spokesperson confirmed to WBZ-TV that the bear "was legally taken by a licensed hunter" during hunting season. 

"Based on photos of the bear and reports from the public, biologists believe it is likely the same bear that had been nicknamed 'Pumpkin' by local residents—an approximately 300-pound male," MassWildlife said in a statement. "There may be other bears still in the area, as a bear was seen in Hanson after the hunter reported taking the large male bear."

The black bear got its nickname when someone saw him snacking on a pumpkin left out in a yard back in September. Some residents were outraged when the Hanson Police Department announced that the bear would have to be put down after killing livestock for a second time. 

The bear was spotted snacking on a birdfeeder in Halifax. CBS Boston

"Unfortunately, the bear is becoming too comfortable in the area and has found too many food sources," police said, explaining that relocation would not be possible. "We know people will not be happy with this decision."

MassWildlife said it had been "in close coordination" with local and environmental police concerning the bear. The agency said bear hunters need to follow "strict rules" and can only kill one bear annually.

"Hunters utilize the meat and fur of animals taken during the hunting season," MassWildlife said. "Regulated hunting helps control the growing bear population; approximately 200-300 bears are harvested by licensed hunters across Massachusetts each year."

There are estimated to be more than 4,500 black bears in Massachusetts, and their range is expanding eastward to places like Hanson that don't typically see them. Residents are urged to limit food sources for bears by taking down bird feeders, securing trash and keeping backyard chickens and goats protected. 

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