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Musket-toting WVU Mountaineer mascot shoots a bear, school bans him from hunting

Dec 7, 2012, 4:42 PM EDT

VMI-West Virginia AP

If you go out in the woods today, you’d better go in disguise. That’s because the West Virginia Mountaineer is out there, and he has an itchy trigger finger. Yep, don’t doubt for a minute that the guy who plays the Mountaineer mascot at football and basketball games has a real musket. Recently he took it out hunting and shot a bear.

Jonathan Kimble, who plays the Mountaineer, was so proud of his accomplishment that he tweeted a picture of himself with the dead bear … and posted a video of the kill on YouTube. But the university apparently got complaints, and ordered Kimble not to take the school’s musket out hunting ever again.

Some were not amused. YouTube commenter:

budsal 30 minutes ago
What a lowlife piece … Really. A baby bear up in a tree..? What I just saw strikes me as murder, not sport.

Associated Press:

“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,” said WVU spokesman John Bolt.

Kimble said Friday that he’s been hunting all his life and this was the first black bear he’s ever killed. He said all his friends have congratulated him for that.

“Hunting can be a controversial topic,” Kimble said. “I apologize to any of those who took offense to the video. It definitely wasn’t my intent to offend anybody.”

Kimble said he taking the musket on hunting trips has become a tradition with the mascots.

“Other Mountaineers have gone and shot multiple deer with it before. I’ve taken it with me deer hunting before, also.”

The Mountaineer mascot first appeared at athletic events in the 1936-1937 school year.

While I understand that hunting is not illegal when in season (hunters like to kill living things, I get it), I don’t understand the idea behind posing with the kill. What is it you’re so proud of? You had a rifle … the bear was in a tree … why is that praiseworthy? Now, if the bear had a rifle and you were unarmed, and you somehow managed to prevail, I’d like to see a video of that.

Or a video of Robin Yount posing next to Dale Sveum.