A California woman stumbled across a decapitated bear whose paws had been cut off, according to local reports. The horrific discovery prompted the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to launch an investigation.

The woman, who was unidentified, had taken her children to explore nature when she spotted the headless body of the bear near Foresthill, in California's Placer County. The incident was notified to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife that will investigate the cause of the bear's death. Authorities said they were investigating whether the bear fell victim to poaching and will try to find evidence of the sale of bear parts in the black market.

Bear
CBS Sacramento/Screenshot

The department told CBS 13 that the finding animals in such grisly manner was extremely rare. According to the department, while they investigate bear-related incidents at least once a year, they had never come across a case where bear's head and all paws were cut off.

The department also said that if the bear was purposely tortured, a vehicle would have been parked on the side of the road. The investigators have sought public's help to come forward and inform the authorities if they have any information regarding the case.

"Well, you have people that just hunt for the fun of it, and if that's what they are doing it's crazy. But it's just some people that's just not right in the head and just do crazy things," one man told CBS13.

Another person, Jim Forman told the publication that it was unimaginable why anyone would kill a bear in such ghastly manner and leave its body by the side of the road. "If you torture animals, people are not that far removed from that type of crime, in other words, somebody who does that might well progress, Forman reportedly said.

Bear hunting is legal in California, however, the Department of Fish and Wildlife laid down stringent rules and regulations for hunters to follow. Hunters are required to have a license and get a tag to hunt a particular bear.