On Esther Island in Alaska, a motion-detecting camera was set up in a bear den as part of a joint three-year study between the US Forest Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. What that camera captured has now led to felony and misdemeanor charges against a Palmer father and son, who authorities say shot dead a sow black bear and her two just-born cubs. The Anchorage Daily News reports that the poachers then tried to cover it up once they saw the mother bear was collared.
Per court documents, Andrew Renner, 41, and Owen Renner, 18, were charged after video clips showed them skiing past the bear den on April 14, when the sow caught their eye. Per an Alaska State Troopers dispatch, Owen Renner then shot at the mother bear twice, and when the baby bears started "shrieking," Andrew Renner shot and killed them, too. The mother bear was wearing a tracking collar and Renner removed it and attempted to cover up the crime.
PLEASE sign so that these bears can be given justice and the habit of poaching can be shown to be a serious crime!
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Captain Leath says that acts like this poaching incident stand in antithesis to what it means to be a hunter as well as the resource management of the state.
"This is unfortunately a prime example of how even with the state's best efforts when individuals go out there and take bears legally, as well as this being fairly egregious killing cubs like this, not only undermines the complete foundation of the sportsman's perspective on it, but it also undermines any effort by the state and the Department of Fish & Game to support that population growth."
The vessel, vehicle used in the hunt, and hunting rifles were all seized ruing the investigation. Charges against these men include: Tampering with Physical Evidence, Unlawfully Take Female Bear with Cubs, Unlawfully Take Bear Cub x 2, Possess/Transport Illegally Taken Game x 3. A. Renner was additionally charged with Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor and Unsworn Falsification in the Second Degree. The case number is AK18027153.
Even though there was stark video evidence of the crime, Captain Leath tells us that the investigation was still extensive.
"The case building, while the video and audio footage no doubt about it was very helpful in identifying the suspect and the crimes of hand, the subsequent investigation that into that as far as identifying the individuals, serving search warrants on the residence, find the vessel and vehicle they used to facilitate the crime, all those additional tasks that were involved, led to quite a lengthy investigation."