7 accused in illegal bear baiting case - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

7 accused in illegal bear baiting case

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From top-left to bottom-right: Charles Blowers, David Brown, Wesley Hedden, Thomas Mann, Ty Mills, Sherwood Patterson and Jason Sullivan. (Source: Pickens Co. Detention Center) From top-left to bottom-right: Charles Blowers, David Brown, Wesley Hedden, Thomas Mann, Ty Mills, Sherwood Patterson and Jason Sullivan. (Source: Pickens Co. Detention Center)
PICKENS, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Investigators with the Department of Natural Resources arrested seven men on charges ranging from illegal bear baiting to marijuana possession this week.

Investigators say the men would bear bait at the Jocassee Gorges in Pickens County.

"Bear hunting season starts in October. The first week is for steel hunting and the second week is for hunting bear with dogs. However, you are not allowed to bait out at anytime, whether it's hunting season or not," Sgt. D.J. Riley, an agent with DNR, said.

On Thursday, investigators said the arrests are part of a four-year sting operation. Agents arrested Charles Blowers, David Brown, Wesley Hedden, Thomas Mann, Ty Mills, Sherwood Patterson and Jason Sullivan on varying charges.

The arrests warrants list charges such as: baiting bear, killing an undersized bear, killing a bear sow with cubs, trespassing, wildlife management land abuse, hunting license violations, distribution of marijuana and conspiracy to violate South Carolina game laws.

"A lot of people bait it with sweets, candies, doughnuts, breads and other sweet-type things," Riley said.

DNR agents say they post signs on state properties that explain the hunting rules.

"It's on our website, in our hunting regulation booklet - the bear laws are printed there," Riley said.

Investigators say while hunting, bear hunters should have a bear tag in their possession and their hunting licenses. If convicted, investigators say the men could face fines ranging from $500 to $2,500 or jail time.

The suspects named in the case may or may not face all of the same charges that are listed.

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