A longtime Haines hunting guide pleaded guilty to a series of illegal hunts in which he used bait to attract brown bears.
Ronald Martin, 72, admitted to at least 10 illegal brown bear hunts and to illegal hunts of black bears and mountain goats, all between 2002 and 2011. The value of the game totaled an estimated $189,000, according to prosecutors.
"When you have clients paying $10,000 or $15,000, you want them to go home happy," said Jack Schmidt, the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the case. "Baiting brown bears is always illegal, but you're also unfairly taking clients from other guides in the area that don't subscribe to these types of practices."
Martin was sentenced Wednesday in Juneau to a four-year term of probation and a $40,000 fine. He is not allowed to hunt anywhere in the world for two years, and he is prohibited from acting as a guide while on probation.
In Alaska, Martin's hunting license is revoked until May 2016, and his guide license was revoked for life. He also forfeited to the state all the items used to facilitate the hunts: a PA-18 Piper Supercub airplane, a Ford F-250 pickup truck, a Honda all-terrain vehicle and a Kimber .338-caliber rifle with a Leopold scope.
"He violated the fundamental rule of fair chase, baiting and an animal and bringing it in that way," Schmidt said.