Watch LIVE

Why Are the Hunting Images of WVU's Mountaineer Mascot Shooting a Black Bear Causing a Stir?


"Killed a WV Black Bear today with my Mountaineer Rifle today!!"

Jonathan Kimble, the official WVU Mountaineer mascot, with a bear he killed earlier in the week. (Image via Twitter)

On Dec. 3, West Virginia University's official mascot -- senior Jonathan Kimble, a West Virginia native -- shot a black bear during the legal hunting season, but some are up in arms over the photos he posted and a video, which has since been taken down.

According to Deadspin, a YouTube video, which was removed by the user, showed a display that included the WVU fight song, hunting dogs baying, men hollering when the bear fell out of a tree and the university's battle cry "Let's go Mountaineers." Deadspin's Barry Petchesky wrote that all these elements add up to the "most West Virginia video ever." You can see the video, which still remains removed from YouTube, embedded on Deadspin here.

Jonathan Kimble, the official WVU Mountaineer mascot, with a bear he killed earlier in the week. (Image: @WVUMascot/Twitter)

But why was the video removed? TheBlaze was unable to contact the YouTube user and ask. We did, however, check Twitter to gauge the atmosphere there and found many are upset with Kimble for shooting the bear. The main issue? Some question whether the bear was actually a cub.

The heavily bearded Kimble used his official Mountaineer rifle to kill the bear, photos of which he posted on Twitter. He told a travel blogger in an interview last month that he, as the Mountaineer, is given special permission to carry and shoot his rifle.

(Image: @WVUMascot/Twitter)

He's also been engaging in some conversation with other Twitter users revealing that he and a group of friends were hunting in his home county of Pendleton.

In a response to another Twitter user asking why he killed the bear and if he would be eating it, Kimble cited an overpopulation problem with black bears in the state and that he did intend to eat all the meat.

According to West Virginia's DNR, it is illegal to "shoot at or kill a bear weighing less than 75 pounds live weight or 50 pounds field dressed weight or to kill any bear accompanied by a cub or to kill any cub accompanied by another bear, regardless of its weight." It's unknown how much the bear weighed or if it was accompanied by another bear.

Kimble was announced as the university's 62nd Mountaineer Mascot ahead of the 2012-2013 school year. According to WVU Today, Kimble noted how "how it is important to really give a good image to WVU." Chair of the Mountaineer Mascot selection committee Ross Werner said at the time that Kimble "[embodied] a lot of the qualities and characteristics of the Mountaineer." Werner continued to say Kimble would "represent the Mountaineer Nation with enthusiasm, pride and class.”

Update: The Daily Dot (via Deadspin) received this statement from the school:

"While Jonathan Kimble's actions broke no laws or regulations, the University has discussed this with him and he agrees that it would be appropriate to forego using the musket in this way in the future. There are some provisions regarding the gun, but none that prohibit its use outside of University-sponsored functions or for hunting purposes. It is also worth noting that powder is used when the musket is discharged at public functions."

This post was also updated to include that Deadspin had restored the vide on its site. 

Most recent
All Articles