A Bear He’ll Never Forget

Mountaineer mascot Jonathan Kimble realizes his role as one of the main faces of WVU.   He also realized when a video of his reaction to killing a black bear made it on the Internet there could be questions raised.

“I apologize if anybody found that offensive,” he said during an interview for Ram Trucks West Virginia Outdoors. “I realize hunting can be a controversial topic and again, I apologize if I offended anyone.”

Kimble adds however, he had nothing to do with the video.

“I didn’t edit it, upload it, or use any kind of social media to endorse or support that video,” Kimble told MetroNews as he left an appearance atWestMilfordElementary School.

The native ofPendletonCountysays he’s a lifelong outdoorsman and has used the muzzleloader which goes along with his game day uniform on previous hunts.  However, the black bear he killed Monday on the opening day of bear season is the first game he’s ever taken with it.

“I’ve taken it deer hunting several times, but it’s not real accurate for long range so you have to have the deer in close and I’ve never had one close enough to take it with the muzzleloader,” Kimble said.

Kimble says the hunt with friends and family started at daylight inPendletonCounty.  They didn’t catch up with the bear until about 11:00am.   It turns out, it was Kimble’s first ever bear.

“That’s the first bear I’ve ever killed,” said Kimble. “They had an early season back around the weekend we played Baylor and I had a chance to kill one then, but I passed on it and let one of the Wounded Warriors shoot the bear that day.”

The bear in the video, estimated to be about two years old, weighed 150 pounds according to Kimble.   The law states a bear must weigh at least 75-pounds to be a legal kill.  Kimble says he checked the bear in and followed all of the proper procedures.  

However, some have raised the issue he was not wearing blaze orange when he shot the bear. The video clearly shows Kimble dressed in a camouflage hoodie with the Flying WV on the front and a camo cap.  However, because the muzzleloader season for deer was open, all hunters regardless of what game they are pursuing must wear a minimum of 400 square inches of blaze orange.  Kimble blames a change in the season dates for this year’s muzzleloader season for the oversight.

“For bear hunting you don’t have to wear orange, but this year for the first time they brought in muzzleloader season for deer that week,” he said. “Usually we wear blaze orange when the deer season is in, but it’s always been at the end of the month.”

DNR Spokesman Hoy Murphy acknowledged the agency was aware of the video.

“We’re looking at the video,” he said Friday. “People put up videos all the time of hunting and we review them.  This video was obviously edited.”

“We encourage everyone to wear blaze orange during any hunt because it’s a safety issue,” he said. “Because the seasons got changed around this year, there is some confusion.”

Kimble said he first learned the video had been posted while he was at the WVU vs. Marshallwomen’s basketball game in Charleston.   He says he realized it might not be well received and asked those who posted it to take it down.  He believed it had been, although as of Friday the video was still available online


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