An Alaskan man and his 18-year-old son were given jail sentences for the illegal killing of a hibernating mother black bear and her two cubs, the whole act being caught on a research camera set up as part of a study by the US Forest Service and Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
According to the Daily Mail, 41-year-old Andrew Renner and his son, Owen Renner, both pleaded to their multiple misdemeanor charges including unlawful take of a female bear with cubs, unlawful take of bear cubs, and the possession and transportation of illegally taken game.
Owen was sentenced to 30 days of suspended time, had his hunting license suspended for two years, and was ordered to perform community service and also take a hunters' safety course.
His father's sentence, however, was stricter. Andrew was sentenced to three months in jail, ordered to pay a $9,000 fine, forfeit his pickup truck, boat, trailer, his numerous guns and rifles, skis, and cell phones. He also had his hunting license revoked for the next 10 years.
The sentence stemmed from the Wasilla pair's illegal April 14, 2018, hunt where they skied to the bear's den on Esther Island in Prince William Sound in the Gulf of Alaska and proceeded to kill the hibernating mother bear, as well as her two cubs.
However, a motion-activated camera that was set up outside the bear's cave by the UFS and ADF&G captured the entire incident as it unfolded.
While Andrew had claimed after being apprehended that it was he who shot the mother bear, the captured footage showed that Owen fired the first two shots at the animal.
After the mother had died, the cubs can be heard squealing, and when the two men realize the sounds were coming from the cubs, they decide to kill them too. Andrew can be seen shooting the cubs and saying, "It doesn't matter. Bear down."
It was then that they noticed the mother bear had been tagged by the ADF&G with a collar, and realize that their illegal hunt had been tracked by the state's wildlife officials.
But they still try to conceal their crime by dragging the mother's corpse to the snow outside the den and removing its collar, with Owen saying, "They'll never be able to link it to us."
They proceeded to butcher the bear, placing its remains in game bags before skiing away. The video also show the pair returning to the scene of the crime to retrieve the collar and shell casings, using the opportunity to take the cubs' bodies away in game bags as well.
Two weeks later, Andrew turned himself in at the ADF&G, bringing along with him the mother bear's skin and tracking collar but insisting he only later realized it was a nursing bear. He also claimed he did not see any cubs despite evidence pointing to the contrary.
Speaking about the pair's recent sentencing, Alaska assistant attorney general Aaron Peterson said, "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."