Hunting in West Virginia is probably as common as fishing in Florida but— after a video of the West Virginia University's Mountaineer mascot shooting a black bear with an old school musket was posted on YouTube and Deadspin. — a firestorm of criticism has flooded the Internet.
Jonathan Kimble, a senior who dons the cherished buckskin costume at WVU sporting events, was videotaped shooting the small bear as it was chased into a tree by dogs prompting an immediate "Go Mountaineers!' chant after the bear was felled. He was hunting in the woods of Pendleton County.
The YouTube video finishes with this little dig at other mascots:
"The Traditional Musket was a one shot kill and showed its not a Toy like some other college mascots play with."
The video has since been pulled from YouTube but the onslaught from both sides of the debate keep streaming in.
Kimble — the 62nd official Mountaineer mascot for the school — is within his rights to hunt as long as it is in season, the bear is tagged and checked to make sure it's not a cub. His critics say he took school spirit to an extreme.
Wearing a buckskin jacket and a coonskin cap is fine way to lead the cheers for your school, but carrying around a pep rally "prop" that is capable of taking down a bear with a live round — that's pretty scary.