Nature and many of its creatures are already being threatened by mankind, with the list of endangered species ever growing as their habitat shrinks. Compounding the issue, some trophy hunters have taken it into their own hands to participate in illegal hunting practices.
One Alaska man — Andrew Renner — and his son, Owen, skied to a bear’s cave on Esther Island in Prince William Sound. There, they shot and killed the mother bear before turning their guns on her two newborn cubs. The cubs were shrieking as they were put down, per ABC 13.
Fortunately there was a research camera set up to watch the bears and their daily activities, a camera which caught the brutal killings on film. That footage has just been used to secure convictions for the two men.
While 41-year-old Andrew Renner has been sentenced to three months behind bars, his 18-year-old son has been given a 30-day suspended sentence. They had both pleaded guilty to numerous misdemeanor offenses.
At the time of their illegal hunt, the men had not known about the motion-activated camera nearby — the camera that caught them in the murderous act.
The incident occurred on April 14, 2018, and began with the teenager killing the mother bear with two shots.
In the footage of the shooting, Andrew can be heard coldly saying, “It doesn’t matter. Bear down,” when they noticed she had cubs. He then proceeded to shoot her two cubs, who started shrieking when their mother was killed.
In an attempt to throw authorities off of their trail, the men then proceeded to remove the bear’s tracking device, with Andrew telling his son, “They’ll never be able to link it to us.”
For some reason, they didn’t think to pick up the shell casings they had expelled from their weapons. The camera then caught them returning to the scene of the crime a few days later to collect those.
Despite their elaborate cleanup attempts, it seems that Andrew had a guilty conscience a few weeks later. At the end of April, he decided to confess to the crime of illegal hunting. He did so by taking the bear’s skin to the police, and claiming he had been unaware that she was a nursing mother at the time his son shot her.
Aside from his jail time, Andrew’s hunting license has been revoked for a period of 10 years — and he has been ordered to pay a hefty fine of $9,000. He has also had to surrender a number of his personal possessions. Owen’s license has been suspended for two years, and he has to take a mandatory hunting safety class.
“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,” prosecutor Aaron Peterson said.