SKWENTNA, Alaska (KTUU) - A hunting guide from Pennsylvania has pleaded guilty to multiple hunting offenses in Alaska. Fines totaled $23,000 for the various offenses.
Alaska Wildlife Troopers say 41-year-old Clifford Smith from Dunmore, Pennsylvania pleaded guilty to eight guiding and hunting offenses "including illegal acts by a registered guide, establishing a bear bait station within one mile of a dwelling, and failing to remove litter from a bear bait station."
According to a Trooper dispatch about the investigation, in 2014, AWT say they received a complain that a bear bait station was set to close to a lodge. An investigation by AWT found that one of the stations was "set up within one mile of three separate dwellings. Troopers also discovered that the bait station was littered with a substantial amount of garbage."
Two years later, AWT investigated several more bear bait stations set up by Smith during a commercial operation. "The bait stations were littered with trash, bait, and equipment that Smith failed to clean up after the bear season closed," said AWT.
Smith was ordered to provided photographic proof that he cleaned up the bait stations and placed on a one-year probation that sees him banned from hunting. He was also fined $23,000 with $18,000 suspended.
AWT explained that the hunting regulations regarding bear bait stations are in place to "reduce inadvertent human encounters with bears."
The regulations "prohibit establishing bear bait stations within one mile of a dwelling, business, school, or developed campground. Regulations also require that bait station permitees remove all bait, litter, and equipment from the bait station when hunting is completed for the season."