Allentown Morning Call, PA
From The Morning Call -- January 7, 2004
Hunter made illegal bear kill
Jason Taddeo shot the 808-pound bruin and then bought a
A Bethlehem hunter who shot an 808-pound black bear last
month in Monroe County is accused of killing the animal without a license.
Jason Taddeo, 29, is charged with the unlawful killing of
a black bear. The Pennsylvania Game Commission filed the case Tuesday at
District Justice Charles Eyer's office in Marshalls Creek.
If found guilty, Taddeo must pay an $800 fine plus
restitution, which can range anywhere from $100 to $5,000, according to the
Game Commission. Taddeo is also likely to lose his hunting and trapping
privileges for two to three years.
Taddeo's bear was the third-heaviest taken in Pennsylvania
this year, and his story was featured in a Dec. 14 Morning Call article
about bear season.
Taddeo shot the massive bruin Dec. 1 while hunting in the
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in Middle Smithfield Township.
Taddeo initially claimed he purchased a bear license just
hours before shooting the bear that morning. But a subsequent Game
Commission investigation revealed evidence that Taddeo shot the bear first
and then purchased the required license.
Monroe County Wildlife Conservation Officer Victor Rosa
said he began looking into the matter as the result of information he
received shortly after The Morning Call article appeared.
''It lead me to ask some more questions, and the more I
looked into it, the more the timeline started to dissolve,'' Rosa said.
''After I talked to Jason, we got down to the truth.''
Rosa said Taddeo confessed the violation, but Taddeo still
must plead guilty after receiving his citation in the mail. Taddeo could
also plead not guilty and have a trial before the district justice, Rosa
''Jason Taddeo is a hunter who happened to have an
opportunity, who took that opportunity and wasn't properly licensed at the
time,'' Rosa said.
''He's not a bad person. He's just someone who.made a
Taddeo's bear will almost certainly make the Pennsylvania
record books. A preliminary measurement of the skull tied as the 59th
largest bear ever taken in the state.
Taddeo had planned to have the animal mounted, but the
skull and hide have been confiscated as evidence, said Tim Conway, the Game
Commission's Northeast Region information and education supervisor.
If Taddeo is found guilty, the amount of restitution he
must pay will be determined by the district justice. Conway said the amount
is based on the estimated cost of replacing the animal involved. Conway said
fewer than one percent of all Pennsylvania bears grow as large as Taddeo's.
''You're talking about an animal that is a trophy,''
Conway said. ''We try to put a price tag on the worth of the animal or
replacing an animal of that caliber.''
Taddeo was accompanied on the hunt by his uncle, Tim
Barlok, also of Bethlehem. However, Rosa said there are no plans at this
time to charge Barlok with any wrongdoing.
Game code violations are summary offenses and not
classified as criminal acts, Game Commission spokesman Jerry Feaser said.