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LAWMAKER ON PROBATION AFTER KILLING BEAR

SHARE LAWMAKER ON PROBATION AFTER KILLING BEAR

State Sen. Ron Beitelspacher, D-Grangeville, received a withheld judgment and two years probation Tuesday after pleading guilty to killing a black bear out of season.

Idaho County Magistrate Michael Griffin also ordered Beitelspacher pay $150 in court costs for the violation, which the lawmaker reported to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game after being informed that the first half of Idaho's split bear season had ended."I know that now. Ignorance is no excuse. I feel just terrible about it," Beitelspacher said. "I'm just sick about it. I just can't tell you how much it bothers me. I've put so much into Fish and Game matters. I carried the bill that established civil penalties. I've tried to help tighten up the regulations."

The avid hunter and professional outfitter shot the bear Monday after finding it prowling in his backyard. He quickly grabbed a rifle and shot the animal, but later learned from a taxidermist called to help skin the bear that hunting season had ended three days before.

Beitelspacher said it was the first bear he had bagged in 18 years.

"When he told me, I just wouldn't believe it," he said. "I didn't read the regulations thoroughly enough. They just put this in there a couple of years ago."

The bear hunting season throughout north-central Idaho was open from Sept. 2 to 15. It reopens Oct. 1 and closes for the year on Oct. 31.