Record Breaking PA Bear ‘Tamed by Resort Employee’

Residents, animal lovers outraged after ‘mascot bear’ killed legally

by Tim Hallman

Last week we reported on a record-breaking bear that had been harvested in Pennsylvania. The bear may possibly be a new world record and surely a new PA state record, weighing in with an estimated live weight of 879 pounds.

In our earlier report I had indicated that the bear may have possibly been a hand-fed tame bear by the name of ‘Bozo’. Now, those reports from local residents near where the bear was killed seem to be true.

The Pocono Record reports that the bear was a common sight for local residents and tourists alike, and was hand-fed since being a cub by Leroy Lewis, a long-time groundskeeper for the Bushkill Resort.

This from the Pocono Record:

On Sunday, almost a week after the 17-year-old bear, known as Bozo, was legally killed by hunters, people who work on this strip said that the animal’s death marked the end of a unique era and that Bozo’s death was not only a blow to the man who tamed and befriended it, but also to them.

“It’s just devastating,” said John Sullivan, a desk clerk at Fernwood Resort, where Leroy Lewis, 71, worked for decades as a groundskeeper and where he became known as the guy who befriended and helped raise a bear.

Lewis fed the bear pies, doughnuts and other human foods since it had been a cub. Bozo subsequently became used to being in the presence of humans, letting humans pet it. Lewis was known to show staff at the resort pictures of Bozo as it grew.

“We were all stunned by the news,” Sullivan said.

“Bozo was, like, our mascot,” said Christine Branigan, a waitress at Petrizzo’s, an Italian restaurant next to the Fernwood Resort. Petrizzo’s was one of Bozo’s favorite haunts; he would often go there and eat leftovers that were placed in an area out back.

According to the PA Game Commission the hunters harvested the bear legally and did nothing wrong. Despite this fact, residents say they are deeply saddened.

The kill has ignited a storm of controversy. Some argue that Lewis, who was cited last month for feeding the bear, should not have done so. They argue that his actions may have led to the bear’s ultimate demise. Others argue that hunting is cruel, and should be illegal, and that this particular incident is proof of just that.

According to the Center Daily Times, the hunter who killed ‘Bozo’, David Price, says the entire affair has been upsetting. He says the kill would have been the pinnacle of his hunting career but is now tainted.

Read entire story from the Pocono Record here.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This is such an unfortunate occurence. That bear, “Bozo”, was such a unique bear! Not only because of his size, but because he was loved (as all pets are) by so many people! I’m not going to make any judgments on Mr. Lewis and/or Mr. Price. But, the whole thing does make me question how much of a “hunt” this really was. If that bear was that friendly & that comfortable around people, it seems to me, it would’ve been an easy & unfair kill.

  2. Penny says:

    I am from Potter co.I have no problem with hunting, I have met this bear!! My family worked at this resort for years! Everyone took care of this bear in this town. Many many people know him, I agree he should not have been raise in this manner, but he was! & this is all he know, it was not his fault. Game commision know about him, he was on state game lands, Fernwood resort is within 700 ft or so from a game land check point.I feel that they should have done something to protect him. Relocated or something. Maybe to a sanctuary. in this area you walk out your back door and the wild life is there. There are so many people in this small area that all the wild life become tame.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know where the hunter was from? If this bear was as well known as everyone says, then i find it hard to believe that this guy didn’t know that the bear was tamed and handfed!! From the sounds of it, he was like a local attraction. It’s a shame that a hunter killed him, i bet the locals are devastated. I’m not against hunting, but something tells me that this guy knew exactly who the bear was when he shot him. If that’s the case then how good could you really feel about this kill?

  4. Anonymous says:

    A fed bear is a dead bear.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Much better responses than the kid that told everyone to shut up.

    What responsibility is the PGC taking for all this? They obviously knew about the bear. SEVENTEEN YEARS of hand feeding? Seriously? They couldn’t have stopped this earlier and trapped Bozo out so he could have half a chance at developing his primal survival skills?

    The guy who finally killed the bear should regret it. Every member of that party should regret it. One of the leading canons of hunting is the principle of “fair chase.” They killed a bear that would have taken a jelly doughnut from their hands and let them pet him between his fuzzy little ears…and they KNEW it. That’s not fair chase.

    To the “hunting is cruel” people…this incident proved nothing to substantiate your claim. This is an ethical debate, not a forum for debating the savagry of hunting. You’re over sensitized by the bear’s history. And it’s unfortunate, don’t get me wrong.

    It is preached time and again “DO NOT FEED WILD ANIMALS” and that doing so can and usually does lead to unfortunate and unfair consequences to the animal. There is no question that this ultimately led to Bozo’s demise…

    I hunt. And I hunt bear. And I feel really bad for this big guy. He had NO chance. Mr. Price, you should feel disenfranchised. Your trophy bear IS tainted. You and your friends are as ethical as shooting ducks ON the pond. And the right WCO would have nailed you for hunting over bait and confiscated the bear. It’s not just a pile of Krispy Kremes under a tree, Sir. For the bad name you have given this sport, The honorable thing for you to do is NEVER hunt another day in your life.

Trackbacks for this post

  1. […] Turns out the bear's name was Bozo and was a "friendly" bear. Personally, I feel the dummies feeding him lead to his demise. Maybe the hunter had an easy kill, but he did nothing illegal. __________________ […]

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