No charges in bear hunting accident

American bear hunter had been killed while hunting south of Houston.

In the story ‘Hunting tragedy’ published in the Lakes District News’ June 4, 2014, a 59-year old bear hunter had been shot and killed in the Tahtsa Reach Forest Service area in May 2014.

The man, Jeffery Cooper from Toutle, Washington, was bear hunting with two guides when he was shot.

According to the RCMP, after a lengthy and careful review of the evidence gathered, crown counsel concluded that no charges would be approved in relation to this accident.

A complete and complex investigation was completed by the Houston RCMP general duty unit, assisted by north district major crime unit, who forwarded an extensive report to provincial crown counsel.

The accident took place on May 26, 2014. At 3:15 p.m., the Houston RCMP were advised of a shooting incident in the Tahtsa Reach Forest Service area, 112 kilometers south of Houston. Upon attendance, police found Cooper deceased at the scene.

In a newspaper story published May 29, 2014, by The Daily News of Longview, Washington, the family described the circumstances of the accident.

The story accounts the following:

“The angry bear charged out of the brush. Cooper and the two guides, reacting instantly, all fired and dropped the bear. Cooper was standing in front of one of the guides, and a bullet struck and killed him, according to his family.

Cooper had been in the Burns Lake area last fall but failed to bag a bear, said Shirley, Cooper’s wife of 27 years. So he returned May 23 — his 59 birthday — to try again.

Shirley said her husband was an avid outdoorsman. “It was his passion. He just loved being out in the woods. He hiked. He hunted. He fished,'” she said.

“He was a wonderful person. He would help anyone. He was a good Christian,” Shirley said, adding that he raised her two children, now grown, as his own.

One of them, Josh King, said his father had a lifelong dream to bag a grizzly.

“He loved to hunt, and that was a great challenge,” he said, adding that his father was going to have a rug made of the bear hide, and his family may still act on those wishes.

Tim Haderly, a longtime friend of Cooper said it’s a tragic loss.

“The one saving grace is that he went doing something he loved,” Haderly said. “He was a guy who lived life to the fullest.”