Kimble to no longer hunt with WVU rifle
Published: Friday, December 7, 2012
Updated: Friday, December 7, 2012 00:12
Some people are appalled, others are supportive – either way, Mountaineer Mascot Jonathan Kimble won’t be taking his official rifle hunting anymore.
Recently, videos of Kimble surfaced on the internet, sparking mixed reactions. The video shows Kimble and a freshly killed black bear, which was shot with the same rifle Kimble takes to official appearances as the Mountaineer Mascot – such as football and basketball games.
Kimble broke no laws in hunting with the rifle – officially, there are no University codes preventing him. However, he has chosen to keep his Mountaineer rifle for appearances only.
"I know other Mountaineers have gone hunting with it – to kill deer and stuff, but it’s probably just better to keep it to appearances," he said.
Reactions from students or others are varied. Some support Kimble in his participation in a "West Virginia tradition," while others express concern about the hunting methods used, the age of the bear or hunting altogether.
Kimble, an avid hunter, regularly goes hunting for deer, turkey, squirrel and most recently, bear.
"I’ve been hunting all my life. It’s part of the culture of West Virginia – living off the land," he said. "People can find offense to certain things in that, though."
Because he has appearances virtually every day of the week, Kimble keeps the official rifle with him.
"It’s part of the persona of the Mountaineer, but he broke no rules," said University representative John Bolt.
Bolt said Kimble made the decision after a
conversation with University officials.
"He agrees that’s not a good thing to do," he said. "There was nothing prohibiting what he did, but he’s not going to do that again."
The rifle was officially presented to Kimble during the Passing of the Rifle Ceremony in April from former Mountaineer mascot Brock Burwell.
Bolt said Kimble agreed with University officials on the use of the rifle.
"We have no issue with Jonathan or anybody who wants to go hunting and follow the rules," he said.
"But it’s the use of the University symbol that’s probably appropriate."
The rifles presented to the Mountaineers are made by local artisan Marvin Wotring Sr., who has been custom-building the Mountaineer rifles for the past 27 years.
Although Kimble won’t be taking the official rifle, he said he will continue hunting.