Bear poacher sentenced to 2 years

Feb 7 2011

A Navato man will serve two years in prison for bear poaching in Glenn County, authorities said.

Wayne R. Barsch, 49, was sentenced Friday in Glenn County Superior Court and will be required to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence because of prior convictions, according to Patrick Foy, a spokesman for the state Department of Fish and Game.

Barsch was arrested by authorities after a routine hunting check ended with Warden Mike Beals confiscating a bear head, four bear paws, a bear gall bladder, 15 pounds of meat and a .45-caliber handgun, authorities said.

Barsch was reportedly stopped by authorities while hunting in western Glenn County, Foy said.

Barsch had shot a bear, but was struggling to remove the carcass from the remote and extremely rugged terrain when wardens approached, Foy said.

A records check revealed Barsch was a convicted felon not allowed to possess any firearm.

During a search of Barsch’s vehicle, Beals found evidence that Barsch may have wasted most of the bear as only 15 pounds of meat was located.

“Only 15 pounds of bear meat is far less that what is expected from the estimated 200 pound bear carcass,” Foy said. “It is a crime in California to waste meat from any game animal.”

Barsch also failed to tag the bear after killing it, Foy noted.

A probation search of Barsch’s Navato-area home yielded additional bear parts, including another gall bladder, head, five paws and a bear penis, as well as possible doe meat.

A bear gall bladder can fetch up to $5,000 on the black market, Foy said, where at least some people believe it contains medicinal qualities.

“I personally don’t believe it has any magic medicine, but some people do,” Foy said.

A bear penis is considered by some to be an aphrodisiac, Foy said.

Barsch pleaded guilty in December to one felony count of selling or purchasing bear meat or parts.

Prosecutors agreed to drop charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition in exchange for the guilty plea, according to court records.

Barsch will also pay a still undetermined fine and visiting retired Colusa County Judge John H. Tiernan also revoked Barsch’s hunting and fishing privileges for life.

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