John Frost allegedly bagged himself in setting up a snare gun to shoot a bear in Loveland, Colorado. The bear had recently knocked over Frost’s beehive and stolen some of his honey. Police believe Frost set up a shotgun with a tripwire and then tripped the wire.
The incident is being widely cited among bears as proof that there is a God.
Snare guns and “man traps” are illegal in every state that I know of. Under the common law, it is battery to protect your property with force calculated to cause serious bodily injury or death. In famous cases like Bird v. Holbrook, 4 Bing. 628, 130 Eng. Rep. 911 (1825), courts have ruled that “[n]o man can do indirectly that which he is forbidden to do directly.” Not only are such devices viewed as immoral (because human life is more valuable than property), but dangerous because such devices cannot tell the difference between friend and foe.
Of course, the case focused on shooting humans for property not animals. However, states make no such distinction. Frost appears to have denied that he created a snare gun. It would not only likely violate state laws but would also violate hunting laws unless he was permitted to shoot bear. The state, however, has decided not to press charges. Presumably, the shotgun blast was viewed as punishment enough.
He is lucky. Snare guns come up every year — often with a bystander or police officer shot by mistake. The morons who set up these devices are often looking at both civil and criminal liability.
The subject bear was later interviewed about the incident below: