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Sports

Allegheny Township boy bags bear

| Friday, Nov. 7, 2008

It isn't every day that an 11-year-old elementary school student bags a bear, and not just a run-of-the-mill bear, but one for the record books.

That's exactly what Tyler Morabito of Allegheny Township (Westmoreland County), did just a few weeks ago while on a hunting trip with his dad, Jamie Morabito, in Fort Kent, Maine. For those who may not know, Fort Kent is just about as far north in Maine as anyone (or any bear for that matter) can get. It's about three miles south of New Brunswick, Canada, a remote, sparsely populated area. Shots at game are short and must be taken quickly due to extremely dense cover.

According to Jamie Morabito, Tyler's bear weighed just a bit more than 450 pounds, not a record in itself, but big, nonetheless. However, the bear, estimated to be about 9 1/2 years old, had a 21-inch skull, which qualifies it for the Boone and Crocket Record Book.

Jamie Morabito said he and his son were on a guided hunt with hounds. The dogs struck a trail and went out in hot pursuit. At one point, the dogs cornered the bear and as a result, several of them were badly injured and had to be taken to a veterinarian. They all recovered.

The bear circled (perhaps for several miles) and eventually almost ended up stumbling into Tyler Morabito.

"When he made his shot, the bear was a mere six feet away," Jamie Morabito said. "He kept his cool and dropped the animal with a single shot from his 20-gauge shotgun using a rifled slug. This was a pretty old bear. He'd been around for quite a while. He knew all the tricks and certainly knew the terrain. I guess he just ran out of luck."

Morabito said he is extremely proud of his son and plans to have the animal mounted as a full-body mount by a taxidermist in Maine. It will be displayed in the showroom of his place of business, Morabito Motors, Lower Burrell.

Tyler attends Allegheny/Hyde Park Elementary School in the Kiski Area School District. He says he loves hunting and fishing, and he has already bagged his first gobbler on the first day of the youth hunting season.

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