CODY - A Wyoming man has been charged after reporting to authorities that he shot a grizzly bear outside Yellowstone National Park after mistaking the animal for a black bear.
According to Park County District Court officials, Patrick Gogerty of Wapiti has been charged with a misdemeanor count of killing or taking a trophy game animal without license or authority. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Cody Circuit Court on May 19.
If convicted, Gogerty could be ordered to pay up to $25,000 in restitution to the state and could face a six-year suspension of hunting rights.
The dead bear was discovered about 14 miles outside Yellowstone National Park in early May. 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 bear were then shared on social media. State and federal wildlife officials confirmed they were investigating the death of the bear, but would not confirm if the bear had been shot.
On Monday, a court official in Cody confirmed an affidavit filed in the case states the grizzly bear was shot at seven times and struck at least four times. Wyoming wildlife officials determined the grizzly boar weighed about 530 pounds.
Gogerty reportedly left a phone 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.
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