New Iberia man pleads guilty for killing Louisiana black bear

LDWF refused comment on arrest despite May 31 admission.

A 39-year-old New Iberia man has pleaded guilty in federal court to killing a black bear during the 2008-09 hunting season, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries reported today (Aug. 17).

Cory R. Ronsonet pleaded guilty to one count of violating the endangered species act for illegally taking the bear, and he could be sentenced to up to $100,000 in fines and up to a year in prison, LDWF said.

LDWF said in a news release that an investigation into the killing began following a tip that the bear had been shot, skinned and stored so it could be mounted in the future. Agents found a black-bear skin and its decapitated head on May 19 near a New Iberia subdivision.

The animal had been a part of LDWF’s black bear program and was first tagged in 2000 when it was estimated to be 6 years old. The passive integrated transponder implanted during the initial capture was left in the hide when the bear was skinned and provided positive identification.

Despite a confession by Ronsonet more than two months ago, LDWF officials refused comment on the case even sources told Louisiana Sportsman that an arrest had been made and expressing a concern that the poacher was well connected enough to pull strings to have the matter dropped.

Arrest records are public record.

LDWF’s Col. Winton Vidrine said in the Aug. 17 release that the lack of information was due to “the nature of a federal investigation.”

However, federal arrests for such violations as the Lacey Act are consistently made public.

Also, an incident in 2009 during which a black bear was killed by a Red River Wildlife Management Area hunter was highly publicized by the agency, which cited the man.

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