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Person charged with illegally shooting mother bear with bow and arrow

In this file photo from May 17, 2019, a black bear sits in a tree in the backyard of a home on Osceola Path in Arlington. (Scott Eisen for The Boston Globe)(Scott Eisen for The Boston Globe)

A person has been charged with illegally killing a mother bear that was eating birdseed in a backyard in Ashburnham, officials said Wednesday.

A yearling bear cub was seen standing by the dead mother bear in the suspect’s truck and another yearling cub was located by officers when they arrived at the home, according to a Facebook post by the Massachusetts Environmental Police.

It happened in late 2021, and the individual told Massachusetts Environmental Police that the bear had been killed on the Monday after bear hunting season had ended, and they had not realized the season was over, the post said.

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Upon further investigation into the call, police determined that the individual had tried to have the bear illegally processed in New Hampshire that Monday.

“It was reported that the individual advised the butcher that the bear had been killed on Saturday, the final day of bear season; however, the butcher determined the bear had been killed that day and not on the day the individual originally claimed,” the Facebook post said. “The butcher refused to process the bear and subsequently contacted New Hampshire Fish and Game.”

Police said the suspect “ultimately admitted to shooting the mother bear with a bow and arrow” as she was eating birdseed in the backyard of the home.

The bow and bear were seized, and the bear was donated to a local rod and gun club, police said.

Police said multiple criminal charges have been filed against the individual, including the illegal taking of a black bear; hunting when the season is closed; illegal hunting of bear in a baited area; discharge of an arrow within in 150 feet of a roadway; hunting within 500 feet of a dwelling in use; falsifying harvest report data; and exporting an illegally taken bear out of state.

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Emily Sweeney can be reached at emily.sweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney and on Instagram @emilysweeney22.