Sopchoppy man arrested for illegally killing black bears

Sopchoppy man arrested for killing black bear in Apalachicola WMA
Posted at 11:17 AM, Dec 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-15 08:13:08-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - A Sopchoppy man was arrested after he admitted to unlawfully killing five black bears over the last two years in the Apalachicola National Forest. 

John Robert Havens, 56, was booked into the Leon County Detention Center on Thursday on the second-degree misdemeanor of taking a black bear without a permit.

On Nov. 28, An investigator with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was checking around an old illegal bait site in the Apalachicola WMA near the Wakulla and Leon County lines when he noticed fresh ATV tracks.

The investigator decided to follow the tracks and found a dead bear on the side of the road. Documents note that there was a baited area where the bear was found.

The investigator continued following the ATV tracks and eventually found Havens dressed in camouflage sitting in a chair near the ATV. Havens, who had a rifle propped up on some homemade shooting sticks, first told the investigator he was hunting coyotes and denied killing any bears.

The documents say Havens began to get nervous the more the investigator questioned him and he eventually admitted that he had baited and killed the bear the investigator found on the side of the road. 

Havens ultimately admitted to killing two bears this hunting season and three bears last season. He said he was killing the bears because they were eating his corn.

Havens was booked into the Leon County Detention Facility on Thursday and was later released on his own recognizance.

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