Yes, the WVU mascot, Jonathan Kimble, shot and killed a black bear with the actual muzzle loader that he fires off at every Mountaineer football and basketball game.
You've probably heard about this by now, so please pardon us for our neglect in discussing it. Honestly, I didn't quite know what to make of it at first. Now? I'm just kind of sitting here shaking my head.
The facts are this: Sometime in the last week or ten days, WVU mascot Jonathan Kimble took the official WVU muzzle-loader (the same one he fires off at every Mountaineer football and basketball game) on a hunt with some friends and family. About four hours into the hunt, Kimble loaded the rifle and took aim at a black bear that had been treed by dogs. All it took was one shot, and the bear fell from the tree, dead. The whole thing was captured on video, which is rather graphic and may be disturbing to the uninitiated:
Kimble broke no WVU regulations related to using the official musket. However, the University later issued a statement asking that he not use the musket for personal hunting purposes in the future. Kimble later apologized, noting that although former Mountaineer mascots used the rifle to hunt deer in the past, he understands that hunting can be a controversial topic and didn't mean to offend anyone.
Okay, first of all: holy cow, that thing can actually fire live ammunition? I was completely blindsided by that factoid, although it does make me feel slightly more safe should Mountaineer field suddenly get invaded by a band of marauders. However, it also make me wonder why LeSean McCoy was able to make it through a certain game in 2007 without sustaining a debilitating achilles tear.
Second, I'm not a hunter at all, but it seems pretty impressive that someone could take a bear out of a tree with just one shot from a muzzle-loader, yes? Does that thing even have a scope on it? Or was it cheating because he used dogs to tree the poor animal? Someone help me out here.
On a more serious note, I'm proud of the way the University handled this. Hunting is a fairly controversial topic, even if it is more accepted in West Virginia than in other places. And while something about a mountaineer hunting with the actual muzzle-loader seems strangely nostalgic, it's still something that many people don't agree with, particularly when the animal isn't used for food. WVU is right stay away from flat-out endorsing what Kimble did, given that it was with the official musket. So long as we keep the university property out of it, whatever Kimble does on his own time and with his own gun is his own business. After all, the hunt was perfectly legal. Well, almost. Kimble was later cited by the DNR for failing to wear blaze orange during his famous hunt. What a miscreant.