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Hunter kills bear in Hanson with bow and arrow; experts believe it was same bear that killed goat

Earlier this year, another black bear affectionately named Buster, was spotted roaming Plymouth on May 31.Melissa Powers

A bow-and-arrow hunter last week killed a large black bear that state wildlife experts believe got into a barn and killed a goat earlier this month.

A licensed hunter shot the bear on Nov. 6 in Hanson, a suburb about 25 miles south of Boston, a MassWildlife spokesperson said Thursday. Biologists believe the bear is likely the animal that was nicknamed “Pumpkin,” a reference to the produce that he was snatching from homes. The bear’s death was first reported by the Patriot-Ledger.

Police searched for the bear about two weeks ago after police in Hanson reported that he got into a residential barn and killed the owner’s goat. The owner had installed an electric fence and reinforced doors after a previous break-in, but it wasn’t enough to keep out the 300-pound male, police said.

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Police said the bear had to be euthanized because he had “gotten a taste for livestock,” drawing some pushback from residents who urged police to relocate the bear to a more rural area. MassWildlife estimates there are more than 4,500 black bears in the state, a population that is growing and moving east into more densely populated areas.

“Black bears spend more time in residential areas when they find food such as bird seed, trash, unprotected backyard chickens and goats, and outdoor pet food,” the MassWildlife spokesperson said by email. “Bears that are fed directly or indirectly by people can become habituated and lose their fear of people. This can lead to bears causing damage, becoming a nuisance, or becoming a threat to public safety.”

MassWildlife said the bear was killed during the state’s regulated hunting season. Hunters harvest between 200 and 300 bears across the state each year.

In Hanson, police spent two hours tracking the bear after the barn break-in but did not have an opportunity to shoot him without endangering nearby residents, the department said.

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Material from previous Globe stories was used in this report.


Nick Stoico can be reached at nick.stoico@globe.com.