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WVU mascot cited for failure to wear blaze orange

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia University Mountaineer mascot Jonathan Kimble hasn't had much to cheer about lately.

A week after a dustup over him using the mascot's musket to kill a bear and posting it online, the 24-year-old Kimble has been cited for failure to wear blaze orange while on his infamous hunting trip.

Division of Natural Resources spokesman Hoy Murphy said hunters are required to wear 400 square inches of the high-visibility color for safety reasons. Kimble wasn't wearing orange when he shot the black bear Dec. 3.

The kill was legal but triggered a public outcry after Kimble posted a video online.

After being approached by university officials, Kimble agreed to stop hunting with the musket.

Kimble didn't immediately comment Wednesday. Last week he told The Associated Press he's been hunting all his life and this was the first black bear he's ever killed. He said all his friends have congratulated him for that.

"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."

Kimble said taking the musket on hunting trips has become a tradition with the mascots.

"Other Mountaineers have gone and shot multiple deer with it before. I've taken it with me deer hunting before also," he said.

The WVU mascot wears buckskin and a coonskin cap and fires the musket -- loaded with black powder but minus ammunition -- at home athletic events and other sponsored activities. Hunting isn't one of them.

Kimble has until Dec. 26 to enter a plea in Pendleton County Magistrate Court. He faces a fine of up to $50, plus court costs.


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