What’s It Cost to Kill a Bear?

An article from the Cox News Service that was published in the State, the daily newspaper of Columbia, S.C., tells the story of a family camping trip gone wrong. You should read the article here. For those who don’t feel like clicking through, I’ll summarize:

1. A suburban Atlanta man named Chris Everhart, a former Marine who now works as a technician for AT&T, took his three sons on their first camping trip.

2. As the four Everharts were roasting marshmallows, a bear started sniffing around their food cooler. The youngest boy, 6-year-old Logan, picked up a shovel and went after the bear.

3. The bear abandoned the cooler and, growling, started coming toward Logan.

4. Logan’s dad grabbed a piece of firewood and threw it at the bear. The bear fell over. The Everharts ran and got into their truck. But the bear didn’t move. The bear was dead.

5. Campground officials came to investigate. (They were already in the area responding to a drunken man who’d tried to run down a bear with his car.)

6. And, finally: “Everhart was later issued a $75 ticket by the U.S. Forest Service for failing to store his food properly ‘to prevent access by wildlife.'”

I am guessing that the $75 ticket is, in most cases, a good incentive to get campers to properly stow their food. And I am guessing that Everhart was truly guilty of said infraction. But if you were the officer in charge of determining whether this man who fought off a bear to save his sons should get the $75 ticket, don’t you think you might have considered waiving the fee, just this once?

A little discretionary leeway, please?


Here is the equation,

Stupidity + Shear Dumb Luck= Hero


yeah I smell a rat- I'm with adamfwilson- no way a kid bum rushes a bear- that part may have been made up to justify the bearicide- my only two options for kid/bear scenario is 1- small kid/dumb wants to pet pretty bear 2- small kid/normal is petrified (ok, I'm projecting- I would have played dead after self-defecating)

Bill Basso

WTF!?... letting a six year old go after a bear you lured by being a sloppy camper!?

Don't think he's going to be getting custody of the kids any time soon. He may even lose visitation rights since his ex-wife (who has custody) isn't too enthusastic about the whole fiasco. And rightly so, the guy is a bad parent not a hero.


Yes, how stupid of them to have food out while they were trying to cook it. Perhaps they would have been better off preparing their S'mores locked securely in coolers suspended from trees.


That logic is surprisingly bad for a blog normally full of sound arguments. A guy's neglicence in food packing causes a bear to rummage around, and his not watching his 6 year old closely enough to stop him from attacking said bear causes bear to growl. Then guy kills bear and shouldn't pay the fines?

If anything his negligence led to a dead bear and his fine should be far greater. It's only slightly less odious than getting drunk and trying to run a bear down with a car.


I am surprised that an economist would think it's a good idea to give people freebies. I think $75 is a bargain that the man was charged. The marine was not a really good parent t if he didn't teach his son that it's not a good idea to chase bears with shovels.


I thought he should have been charged a lot more, for unnecessarily killing the bear. How sad.


It's quite obvious that Chuck Norris has used the fake name of "Chris Everhart" here.

Why not let your 6 year old attack a bear, when you're Chuck? Your offspring have to learn to be tough somehow. Roundhouse kicks to the torso can only do so much. C'mon...what's wrong with all you people.


Isn't it the court's job to provide discretionary leeway? Everhart hasn't actually been *convicted* of failing to store food properly, after all, only accused of it.


Sound fishy. I'll bet that the guy blasted the bear when the kid got threatened. Of course, you'd do it and so would I if the bear came at our 6 year old.

But now we're going to give a guy a felony conviction for saving his kid in a bad spot? Never. That's just dumb. Instead, write him a ticket to reinforce his mistakes, make him sweat gun charges/out of season hunting charges/ etc. Then at the end of the day let him off with ticket and a warning.

There is discretionary leeway at the level of the officer making an arrest, the desk sgt who books someone, the DA when he charges them, the judge who arrains them, the judge who tries them, the jury and then the sentencing judge as well.

That's the strength of the system, you really have to convice alot of folks you're worthy of punishment before you get it.

Peeved Michelle

I am with bkw: it doesn't sound like he deserved a ticket since he and his family we actually using the food at the time.


So far it seems to be,

Bear - 28
Adult/kid -2


Reminds me of the time someone I knew in college happened upon a couch fire and put it out with a nearby fire extinguisher. The university charged him $35 for discharging a fire extinguisher.


Anyone know if he got to keep the bear?


Talldean, the American black bear doesn't appear to be endangered. (It is legally protected in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas because a subspecies, the Louisiana black bear, is threatened.)

Prosa, bears eat toothpaste because it's sweet. They think they've stumbled onto a good source of sugar/calories.

bkw, in bear country the safety rule is that food -- or anything that a bear might believe is or contains or smells like food (or used to: think about a toddler's car seat, an empty coffee cup in your car, a bottle of sunscreen) -- must at all times either be locked in a bear safe or actually in your direct physical possession.

So you unlock the bear safe, remove what you need from your cooler with one hand, put the cooler back and re-lock the bear safe with the other hand, and you don't let go of the food. Food-contaminated trash goes back in the bear safe immediately, not at the end of the day. You just don't leave a cooler sitting out, even during meals, and you never-ever-ever take any food (or toothpaste, or scented hand lotion, or anything else that "might" look or smell like food) into your tent. You want a wandering bear to look your site over and decide to checkout the fools at the next campsite, instead of calculating whether it could beat you at a footrace for your unsecured cooler.



Oops... accidentally pressed submit. I wasn't exactly finished.

Should the guy be fined the $75 for not putting his food away? Definitely. If he had stored his food properly, the bear may not have come. Of course, while the bear was around the cooler, which should have been put away, it could have just as easily been tempted to go the campsite by the smell of the s'mores. Whether the cooler was stored or not may have not changed anything, but it was definitely a contributing factor, and a clear violation.

Should the guy be fined/jailed for killing the bear? No. I don't think he should have let his son run at the bear with a shovel, and with a bear present, he should have been watching his sons to the best of his ability. Letting a 6 year old run at a bear with a shovel doesn't exactly elevate you to "parent of the year" status.

It happened, though. The kid ran at the bear with a shovel. I think any parent would aim to protect their child in an event like this. You wouldn't necessarily have to kill a bear to get it to leave your child alone. I'd imagine putting a flaming piece of firewood in its face would be enough to get it to back off. If it came to it, though, any decent parent would kill the bear over letting it endanger their child.

I'm not saying the guy is a "decent" father. With something like that happening, I wouldn't doubt the mother would receive custody. Child services would be all over his ass as well. So maybe there are some additional fines/penalties he should receive. Those extra penalties should be a result of him being a crappy father, though, and not because he killed a bear. Because in the long run, if you had to kill a bear in order to save your child's life, (no matter how stupid the child may be) you would make sure your kid stayed alive.



Bear and humans don't mix. It would be better if more bear hunting with dogs and bear hunting in general were performed because bears would revert to their natural patterns of avoiding people.

By NOT hunting bears we are ensuring bears LOSE their fear of humans and gurranttee more harmful bear and human interactions. Even if we could create a sport of bear chasing with dogs and humans to teach bears to avoid humans and reinforce this fear we could save the lives of many bears and reduce negative bear and human contact.

Bears should not be encouraged to live under decks or eat garbage. They should avoid man and live in the wild. Teach them fear of man, man made structures and dogs would do this and save the lives of many bears and a few humans and pets.

Andy Pariamos

This bear was just not up to normal bear strength. His approach/intent was not malicious and the fine does not fit the crime. I, for one, feel sorrow that the animal lost his life and that the family had to witness such an event. Campsites must take notice that areas designated for recreational campers will have situations like this take place from time-to-time. I believe that it is up to us, the citizens, to makes sure that our kids learn that bears will go after marshmallows, six year olds, and they certainly do not adhere to the norms and regulations of any family friendly campground. For god sakes people, they are animals....but truth be told, I feel truly bad that this bear lost his life.

Geoff Simmons

"But if you were the officer in charge of determining whether this man who fought off a bear to save his sons should get the $75 ticket, don't you think you might have considered waiving the fee, just this once?"

Absolutely not. While it was justified for Chris to defend his family and stop the aggressive bear, if he had stored his food properly the entire situation could have been avoided, his family wouldn't have been endangered and that bear may still be alive today.

Bears become aggressive like that because of human food, and it is our responsibility as human visitors to observe food storage rules and regulations, as it will save a bear's life.


Humans are at the top of the food chain. Any bear protection law is nothing but a joke. Bears are dangerous to humans and need to be eradicated. Just like the HIV virus and disease causing bacteria. Humans are free to cook where they want and how they want, especially in the forest. Tree hugging pansies need to get over this. Too bad the bear decided to mess with the wrong species.