Man charged after Bears found dismembered in North Carolina

Accused Bear Killer
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 9:48 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 2, 2022 at 11:00 AM EST
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WOODFIN, N.C. (FOX Carolina) - The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) announced that a man was charged after the bodies of three bears were found on private property in Woodfin on November 30.

NCWRC officials identified the suspect as John Robert Bunkley Jr. and released the following statement on the charges.

“The Law Enforcement Division of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission issued charges in the case of three illegally killed bears, in which the carcasses were illegally dumped in the Town of Woodfin, north of Asheville. Due to the ongoing nature of this investigation, we are unable to provide any additional details. We will continue to work with the Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office until the case is adjudicated. The community response was incredible, and we are appreciative of the information given to Help Asheville Bears that led us to the suspect. Wildlife violations can be reported by calling 800-662-7137”

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Officials said the bear carcasses were dismembered and so much meat was removed that they cannot determine the bears’ weight or cause of death.

Jody Williams, the founder of Help Asheville Bears (HAB), said it appeared to be a mother bear and two cubs that were discovered near Moore Street. Their entrails were placed in a large plastic bucket.

He said the bears’ paws were left behind but later removed as evidence.

HAB shared video of the scene and offered a $5,000 reward for information about the case. They confirmed that someone received the reward after Bunkley was charged.


The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is investigating after the bodies of three bears were found on a private property in Woodfin on Wednesday.

In North Carolina, killing a cub under 75 pounds or a female bear with cubs is illegal. Hunters are also required to report big game harvests.

NC Wildlife Resources Commission said their investigation is ongoing.