Two men in Alaska have been found guilty of the illegal killing of a mother bear and her two cubs in 2018 after a research camera luckily caught their actions on video.
Andrew Renner and his son Owen Renner have now been handed severe penalties by the courts as punishment for the sickening act.
The incident happened back in 2018 on Esther Island in Prince William Sound, Alaska.
While the bears are not endangered it is never-the-less a crime to kill them, something the pair seem to have been aware of at the time as it is believed they took a discrete route into the area to avoid detection. What the pair were not aware of was the fact that the US Forest Service and Alaska Department of Fish and Game have cameras across the state tracking bear populations – and it was on one of these cameras that the grisly deeds of the pair were revealed.
The contents of the video are particularly disturbing. At the time of the killing the bear was asleep and hibernating, and certainly posed no risk to the duo. In the first part of the clip, the younger of the two men shoulder a rifle and fires it into the bear den killing the mother. His father then shouts: “It doesn’t matter, bear down.”As the cubs begin screaming the older of the two men then aims his rifle and kills both of them. They returned two days later and stripped the carcass of the mother for meat and then left.
They then high-five each other and the younger of the two states:
“They’ll never be able to link it to us.”
Clearly indicating that he knew what they had done was illegal. While posing shirtless with the dead creature he adds: “You and I don’t f**k around, we pretty much, we go where we want to kill s**t.”After their crimes were revealed, they were hauled before the courts. Andrew Renner was sentenced to 3 months in prison for his actions, along with confiscation of property order and a fine of $9000. Owen Renner was given a 30 day suspended sentence and both were ordered to pay restitution of $1800.
Aaron Peterson, the Assistant Attorney General, stated in the aftermath of the verdict that:
“My office believes and argued for active jail time in this case because of the egregious nature of it, and the necessity of letting the public know Alaska will not tolerate poaching … What we saw is that there were two bear cubs that were completely defenseless and were shot at point-blank range.”It is hoped that this will serve as a warning to others who violate hunting laws and to those who may wish to harm innocent creatures in the future.