ROYALSTON (CBS) – A father and son are accused of illegally hunting a bear. Mark Burdzy senior and junior faced a judge for the first time Monday, facing a slew of charges.
Instead of landing in his trophy room, Mark Burdzy Jr.’s 200 pound black bear is now evidence in a police freezer.
Bears are suckers for an easy meal, which is why they often target backyard bird-feeders. But intentionally baiting them during hunting season and then shooting them when they show up is illegal. That’s exactly what prosecutors say the pair did last September.
WBZ-TV’s Ken MacLeod reports
They were arraigned Monday on several charges including conspiring to cover-up the illegal kill which prosecutors say happened in the woods of Royalston.
When Mark Burdzy, Jr. came in to register a bear carcass in mid-September, suspicious investigators using DNA testing matched it to bear remains found by hikers in the woods right next to buckets of sunflower seeds where a state trooper had heard shots and suspected illegal bear hunting just before Labor Day.
The Burdzy’s insisted the bear was shot legally two miles away and they then carried it to the spot in question.
The court file is hefty for the poaching case, including maps, terrain comparisons on photos seized from the suspects’ homes and pictures showing Mark Jr. actually filling the bait buckets in years past.
The Burdzy’s argue it’s all a fancy frame job.
Police have also charged Mark Burdzy, Jr., who is a corrections officer, with not securing several weapons around his home.
He says the charges turned the most exciting event of his hunting career into the worst.