National Parks

Brickbat: Out of Season


Last year, federal and North Carolina and Georgia state wildlife law enforcement announced the results of Operation Something Bruin, a joint investigation that resulted in bear-poaching charges against 80 people. But an investigation by an Atlanta TV station found that charges against many of those people have since been dropped for lack of evidence and others were allowed to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges such as driving on a closed forestry road. In fact, the investigation found that law enforcement officers, not the alleged poachers, killed many of the bears. In some cases, the alleged poachers weren't even with the law enforcement officers when they killed the bears. Rabun County, Georgia, District Attorney Brian Rickman said he's considered taking a criminal case against one of the officers to the grand jury, but he says he fears that any indictment would be kicked up to the federal system where prosecutors would dismiss it.