"Bear" the Alligator-Killer Avoids Criminal Charges

It's generally not a good idea to swim near one of these creatures.
It's generally not a good idea to swim near one of these creatures.

A man known to the public as "Bear," who killed an alligator who killed a moron last week, has been issued a  "warning citation" by the tough-as-feathers Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. 

"Investigators concluded that the unprecedented circumstances of the case, believed to be the first fatal alligator attack in Texas on record, warrant no further action," according to a press release the department issued Thursday.

The alligator killed Tommie Woodward on July 3 while the 28-year-old was visiting Burkart's Marina in Orange. Woodward ignored posted warning signs and an employee's plea not to swim in alligator-infested waters. Price uttered his last known words (besides screams for help) — "Fuck the alligators!"   — and then jumped in, only to be promptly gored by the gator, Orange County Justice of the Peace Rodney Price told KFDM News. (It should be noted that Price substituted the word "blank" for "fuck.")

Woodward's demise — we feel terrible for his family — made national news, but we take issue with the incident being described as an "attack." That gator "attacked" Woodward just as much as some of us might "attack" a Chicken McNugget if it were dangled in front of us. We'd suggest filing this under "suicide by reptile."

A few days later, a dude who identified himself to reporters only as "Bear" decided that the gator had to be taken out.

"He had to go," Bear told the Beaumont Enterprise. "That's what happens when you kill someone." 

Bear "said he set a trap out of his boat with chicken as bait and caught the 400-pound reptile before he killed it with a shotgun," according to the paper, which also reported that game wardens found Woodward's remains in the animal's throat. 

According to the Parks and Wildlife Department's press release, game wardens were alerted to the dead alligator July 6 after they "received a call that a large alligator carcass had been dropped at the marina boat ramp near where the attack had occurred days earlier. A subsequent examination confirmed it to be the alligator responsible for the attack on Woodard."

That's when the hunt for Bear began.

"Game wardens then began searching for the person(s) responsible for the illegal harvest of the alligator, a Class C misdemeanor offense carrying a maximum fine of $500," according to the press release. The wardens found Bear the following day, and he "admitted he killed the alligator out of concern for the safety of others." (The Department did not disclose the man's name because no charges were filed).

Col. Craig Hunter, the Department's director of law enforcement, stated “In no way do we condone the killing of a nuisance alligator without proper authority. Either Texas game wardens or a licensed nuisance alligator hunter would have been more appropriate to handle the situation. Either way, because of its aggressive behavior, the alligator would have to be killed. If there is a positive that can come out of this case, it’s an educational opportunity for us to reinforce to the public not to feed or disturb alligators and that there are proper procedures for handling nuisance alligators.”

There we go again with that word, "attack." The only attack here seems to be Bear attacking the alligator. But one thing's for sure: that gator won't ever kill another idiot again. 


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