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Wyoming man arraigned on misdemeanor charge for shooting grizzly bear

Posted at 11:47 AM, May 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-19 13:47:20-04

CODY - A Wyoming man who turned himself in a day after shooting a grizzly bear he said he mistook as a black bear was arraigned Friday.

Patrick Gogerty of Wapiti appeared in a Cody courtroom where he was formally charged with one misdemeanor count of killing or taking a trophy game animal without license or authority.

Gogerty appeared without an attorney and a judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. Gogarty was allowed to remain free pending trial, which was scheduled for Oct. 10. His hunting privileges were suspended until the trial date.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and a $10,000 fine. If convicted, Gogerty could also be ordered to pay up to $25,000 in restitution.

The dead grizzly bear was discovered about 14 miles outside Yellowstone National Park on May 1. Photographer Amy Gerber said she was driving along the North Fork Highway between Cody and Yellowstone National Park when she spotted the grizzly bear lying dead just a short distance off the road surrounded by game wardens.

Photographs of the dead grizzly bear were shared on social media, and news outlets then began reporting the death of the bear. State and federal wildlife officials confirmed they were investigating but would not confirm if the bear had been shot, leaving many to speculate about the circumstances surrounding the bear's death.

Charging documents were filed about two weeks later and revealed that authorities had confirmed the bear had been shot at least four times.

Charging documents also revealed that Gogerty had called and left a message with wildlife officials on May 2 in which he admitted to shooting the bear, saying he believed the animal was a black bear because he didn't see a hump on its back. Gogerty reportedly said he approached the dead bear and saw its claws, pads, and head and realized it was a grizzly bear.

A wildlife official said in court records Gogerty should have immediately reported the shooting to authorities.

RELATED: Wyoming man charged after reporting he shot grizzly bear by mistake