The West Virginia University Mountaineer is much more than a mascot. He’s an actual mountaineer. The school’s mascot carries a real working musket and occasionally goes hunting for bears.
According to ABC News, Jonathan Kimble dresses up as the mascot for West Virginia games but he also uses the costume, and the mascot’s gun, to go hunting. The University has ordered Kimble to stop using the weapon for non-school related activities but Kimble says that it’s a mascot tradition for the Mountaineer to go hunting with the musket.
WVU spokesman John Bolt said:
“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.”
The controversy was brought to light this week after Kimble posted a video of his hunt on the internet.
In the video, Kimble shoots a bear in a tree while screaming: “Let’s go Mountaineers!”
Kimble said that past Mountaineers have used the musket on hunting trips and that he’s gone deer hunting with the gun in the past.
“Hunting can be a controversial topic. I apologize to any of those who took offense to the video. It definitely wasn’t my intent to offend anybody. Other Mountaineers have gone and shot multiple deer with it before. I’ve taken it with me deer hunting before, also.”
Here’s the photo of the Mountaineer mascot after he shot and killed a black bear. The video has been taken off Youtube but you can still watch it at Deadspin.