Bear poacher sentenced

November 9, 2015


HART — The 27-year-old Zeeland man who shot a mother black bear that was with her three cubs, Sept. 23, in the Ruby Creek area of Colfax Township was sentenced Monday, Nov. 9, in 78th District Court to five days in jail; $1,500 in restitution; and a suspension of his hunting privileges for over three years.

Derek Allen Hassevoort pleaded guilty Monday to unlawful taking of a bear, said Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon. “The taking was unlawful, because the sow bear was accompanied by cubs,” Bizon said. “Mr. Hassevoort’s plea was unconditional, meaning he was not offered anything by the prosecution.” The court accepted the plea and sentenced Hassevoort to five days in jail, to be served over two weekends; $1,500 in restitution to the State of Michigan for the bear; and $400 in fines and costs. Hassevoort’s hunting privileges are also suspended for the remainder of this year and the next three years.

“Biologists said the cubs have a good chance of surviving on their own, but they would have been better off had the sow accompanied them through the rest of the fall and selection of a winter denning site,” according to the DNR.

“Fortunately, in this situation, these cubs were born in early 2015,” said DNR bear specialist Kevin Swanson in Marquette. “Cubs at this age can already be the size of some yearlings and they understand how to collect food for themselves.”


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