LAFAYETTE — A New Iberia man faces a fine of up to $100,000 and a year in prison in the illegal killing of a Louisiana black bear, the skin and decapitated head of which were found by wildlife agents near a New Iberia subdivision in May.
Cory R. Ronsonet, 39, pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to one count of violating the endangered species act for illegally taking the bear.
The investigation dates back to the 2008-09 hunting season, when the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries began investigating a tip that a black bear had been shot and that its skin had been stored for mounting, according to an LDWF news release issued Wednesday.
Agents found the bear’s skin and its decapitated head May 19 off of Daniel Lane near a subdivision in New Iberia, the release said.
Ronsonet admitted to taking the bear on May 31, the release said.
“This is a perfect example of the public and law enforcement working together to help solve a case. The agents did a great job of pursuing the perpetrator for over a year and bringing justice to this case,” Col. Winton Vidrine, chief of LDWF’s Enforcement Division, said in the release.
The bear was estimated to be about 6 years old when it was first tagged by LDWF in 2000.
The agency was able to positively identify the bear because the passive integrated transponder, its tracking device, was left in the bear’s hide, the release said.
The bear lived mostly in the Weeks Island area of lower Iberia Parish, and LDWF had never received a nuisance call about it, the release said.