Mother-Son Duo Sentenced for Poaching Bear Cubs

Mother-Son Duo Sentenced for Poaching Bear Cubs

Two Oregon residents have been sentenced in a poaching case that occurred in October 2022.

Gail Faye Freer, 52, and her son Corey Douglas Loving II, 29, both of Siletz, Oregon, must pay $15,000 in damages, forfeit their hunting privileges for three years, and serve 60 months of bench probation for shooting two black bear cubs while trespassing on private land.

According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Loving and Freer first noticed a bear cub wandering among blackberry bushes when Freer encouraged Loving to shoot the cub. He did, and the duo returned later to retrieve the carcass. At that point, they encountered a second bear cub but mistook it for the first, and Loving proceeded to shoot that one as well. When they entered the brush to recover the bear, they discovered that it was not the same bear cub, but two cubs.

Anonymous Tip

OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers were tipped off by an anonymous call to the Turn in Poachers (TIP) Line several days later. Authorities located both cub carcasses, which were left to waste. The sow was searched for but not located.

Loving was charged with five counts of “taking, angling, hunting, or trapping in violation of wildlife law or rule.” He pleaded guilty to two charges in February, and the other three charges were dismissed. Freer pled guilty to one of two charges of the same wildlife violation.

Black Bear Hunting in Oregon

The black bear hunting season in Oregon runs from Aug 1 to Dec 31, but it is illegal to take bear cubs less than a year old (it is also illegal to take sows that have cubs less than one-year-old).

The cubs shot by Loving were dated to age around eight months and still possessed their baby teeth, according to ODFW District Wildlife Biologist Jason Kirchner.

“There is no excuse for taking two eight-month-old bear cubs, plus the meat was not taken care of and went to waste,” Kirchner said, “This is a loss to Oregonians and to those who respect, value, enjoy, and manage our state’s wildlife resources.”

Poaching is a problem in Oregon. The state’s Stop Poaching Campaign was established to educate the public on how to recognize and report poaching.

“This was a combination of trespassing, poaching, and leaving an animal to waste,” Stop Poaching campaign coordinator Yvonne Shaw said. “This demonstrates an attitude of lawlessness while they deprive others of the experience of encountering or hunting these animals during a legal season.”

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