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West Virginia’s mascot shoots and kills a black bear with the musket we all thought was a prop

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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West Virginia's Mountaineer mascot is in trouble with the university after using the school-issued musket he totes around during games and appearances to shoot and kill a black bear.

A video of the mascot's hunting exploits (warning: video is graphic) was placed online and seen by West Virginia officials, who asked him to stop using the weapon. Jonathan Kimble, the 24-year-old who plays West Virginia's mascot, said hunting with the gun is a mascot tradition.

West Virginia did issue a statement on the matter:

"While Jonathan Kimble's actions broke no laws or regulations, the University has discussed this with him and he agrees that it would be appropriate to forego using the musket in this way in the future. There are some provisions regarding the gun, but none that prohibit its use outside of University-sponsored functions or for hunting purposes. It is also worth noting that powder is used when the musket is discharged at public functions."

[Also: Western Kentucky hires Bobby Petrino and all of his baggage]

Kimble told the Associated Press that this wasn't the first time he had taken the weapon hunting and that many Mountaineer mascots before him have used the weapon to kill deer.

OK. Your first thought after reading this should be: "Holy crap, that thing really works?"

Your second thought should be: "Holy crap, does Dana Holgorsen know?"

And then somewhere, in the recesses of your mind, you should be just a little impressed that Kimble shot a bear out of a tree with a musket. I mean, look at that thing.

And then you should be outraged -- if you value animal rights or don't like hunting or -- because it was a small (possible baby) bear he shot out of the tree.

"Hunting can be a controversial topic," Kimble said. "I apologize to any of those who took offense to the video. It definitely wasn't my intent to offend anybody."

During games, the Mountaineer mascot carries the musket and loads it with black powder, but no ammunition. However, it's good to know that if crossed, the West Virginia mascot could kill someone at a game whenever he wants.

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