PARIS, Ark. (KTHV) – Two deputies have been placed on unpaid leave after they shot a black bear that had been hit by a car.

CBS affiliate 5NEWS reported that a driver traveling on Highway 109 told police that he had hit the black bear and the deputies later found it.

"The way he described, it may have rolled up under the vehicle, the front wheels and the rear wheels also," Logan County Sheriff Boyd Hicks said.

According to the sheriff, the black bear was badly injured and ran up an embankment into the woods.

"They made the determination to put the bear down," Hicks said.

According to wildlife officers, black bears are a protected species and can't be killed outside of a hunting season. Arkansas Game and Fish officers haven't said if there will be an investigation.

"Game and Fish was on the way and what they should have done is wait until Game and Fish and the biologist got there, so they could make the determination of what needed to be done.”

Wildlife officers said it's almost mating season for black bears. Mother bears are kicking yearling male bears out of the nest as they prepare for mating. Investigators believe the black bear was likely hunting for food and was a nomad of this season.