So what happens if you shoot a bear or a wolf or a couger out of season?


dead in the water
First off, I'm not really interested in discussing if you should carry a gun or if an animal is likely to attack or any of that. I'm just curious about something.

Say that someone WAS attacked by a bear or a wolf or whatever and they shot/killed it. What happens next? Do you just walk away? Do you call WDFW? Do you get in trouble for doing so? Is there some court of law where you've got to defend your actions?

Dan Nelson

Hiker, Fisher, Writer, Bum
Call WDFW and let them know. Self defense is a valid reason for shooting wildlife -- even protected species -- at any time. But, especially in the case of endangered species, there better be at least circumstantial evidence to back up your claim that you were protecting yourself or your family. Or rather, no evidence that contradicts your claims.

Note that there is currently a case in Idaho where a man shot and killed a grizzly on his property, claiming he was protecting his family. But he also admitted the bear was killed while it was attacking a pig on the property, not any family member. US Fish and Wildlife charged him with illegally killing a protected species and he was arraigned in federal court this week (maybe last week).

Generally though, a solid self defense claim usually results in a quick resolution of the issue for the shooter absent any evident contradicting that claim (another case found a poacher guilty of illegal taking when forensics proved the bear that was "threatening" the poacher was shot from at least 200 yards away).


Ignored Member
If nobody saw you get rid of the carcass and say nothing to anyone. If someone saw you hide all your valuable guns and keep one shitty one to say it was the one used then take out a second mortgage to pay the fine.


dead in the water
I see no reason to shoot a bear, or wolf, or cougar except in self defense. Just my .02
Deer, elk, bison, mmmmm good eats.
I know Gary. But that argument doesn't really answer my question. Which is why I wanted to stay away from getting into it. We all know that people DO shoot some of these animals (witness the recent "grandma shoots wolf" thread). I'm just curious about what happens once someone does shoot an animal that wasn't legal to shoot and claims "self defense". I think both Dan and Kerry are probably correct.


Active Member

Bear, if it feeds on vegetation, berries etc, eats really good. I still have my Wa bear tag to fill. I f I manage to get out and look for one and tag out will let you try some of my italien bear sausage. I have had cougar meat and it is surprisingly good too.

As long as you can justify self defense and the investigation can verify self defense you are fine. Up to the individual to report the kill. Be ready for an aggressive investigation after the shot though. Fines can be very high

Alex MacDonald

that's His Lordship, to you.....
Like Dan wrote, Gary. Gotta be a reason, and the evidence should back you up with at least tracks or something similar. The guy in Idaho, the feds dropped the charges, but they fined him $1,000 for some lame-ass excuse. The bear was only about 40 yards from his house, and he couldn't locate his children. Griz can outsprint a horse, and could cover that distance in a few seconds.
I'm with Kerry...If it's completely deniable get the hell away from it, let it lie and don't ever speak of it. If you do the "Dudley Do right" thing, you will get arrested and have to defend yourself in court against a panel of state biologists. From your story, they interpret the thoughts, instincts, and behavior of the animal and try to justify that animal's actions. In this soft, liberal, estrogen fueled state, the odds work against you. Then there are huge fines and possible jail time. Doing the "right thing" isn't worth the risk in my opinion. If you're Catholic, well... you probably should confess. If you're Protestant, self reflection should be enough.