7 arrested in bear hunting investigation

UPSTATE — A four-year investigation into illegal black bear activities has yielded seven arrests by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and the Attorney General’s office.

DNR officers executed arrest warrants across the Upstate for multiple charges related to the illegal taking of bears. These charges were baiting 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.

The violations have penalties that range in fines from $500 to $2,500 and or jail time ranging from 30 days to two years.

Arrested in the case were Charles Claude Blowers, 63, of Sunset, charged with baiting; David Winston Brown, 41, of Liberty, charged with killing an undersized bear; Ty Cooper Mills, 23, of Marietta, charged with killing a sow with cubs; Thomas Elliot Mann, 35, of Travelers Rest, charged with conspiracy to violate wildlife laws; Jason Russell Sullivan, 27, of Six Mile, charged with conspiracy to violate wildlife laws and a license violation; Wesley Caylor Hedden, 34, of Pickens, charged with distribution of marijuana; and Sherwood L. Patterson, 64, of Seneca, charged with conspiracy to violate wildlife laws and trespassing.

DNR law enforcement continues to investigate illegal black bear activities.