Three men were sentenced for the illegal shooting of a brown bear in Alaska. The penalties ranged from three years probation and a $5,000 dollar fine to probation and a $10,000 fine. Two Alaska men admitted to guiding hunters to a brown bear without proper permits and licenses. They also phoned the hunters after the hunt and tried to get them to destroy evidence. The man who shot the bear didn’t have a bear hunting tag, so another man gave him his tag, which is a violation also.
Two of the men were convicted of violating the Lacey Act, which can be a felony. The Lacey Act prohibits trafficking in illegal wildlife, fish and plants. For example it is illegal to import certain plants without an import declaration. It also prohibits falsification of documentation for transporting animals or plants. It is over one hundred years old and has been amended several times since passing. The original intent of the law was to stop animal poaching in one state and then selling them in another.
The law allows some illegal activity to be punished as a felony and others as a misdemeanor. The felony aspect of the law carries a punishment of up to five years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine. The misdemeanor’s punishment range is less, as one would expect. One of the amendments to the Lacey Act specifically was made to address situations involving packaged hunting tours resulting in the death of a wild animal for transport to another state. Out of state visitors shooting animals for payment was not covered prior to the amendment. The Lacey Act has become an important factor in protecting animals in the United States,and abroad. Various companies in Alaska guide hunters on paid trips to find and shoot brown bears as trophy animals. Some of these tours sell for $7,500 or more. It is a barbaric and unnecessary practice.
Image Credit: Marshmallow