Alabama man charged with illegally killing black bear

Published 9:50 pm Thursday, September 21, 2023

Videos of a black bear in Wallsboro just north of Wetumpka have been making the rounds for several days. Now, a bear is dead and a Wetumpka man has been arrested for shooting it.

Michael Cole Watkins, 32, of Wetumpka was arrested by Elmore County sheriff deputies Thursday morning and deputies secured the carcass of a black bear. Watkins was charged with hunting after dark and hunting during a closed season according to Elmore County Jail records.

The Elmore County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page posted a statement saying a “person responsible for shooting and killing a bear has been arrested. He is currently facing state and federal charges in relation to this incident.”

Harming or killing a black bear is a Class A misdemeanor in the State of Alabama and carries a punishment of up to one year in jail if convicted.

As of Thursday afternoon Watkins was in the Elmore County Jail with a $7,000 bond available to him.