Guide fined for 1998 violations

Posted: Sunday, January 21, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A Wasilla hunting guide was fined $10,000 and sentenced to three years probation for violations in 1998.

William Burwell, who operated Ram Creek Outfitters in the Tetlin Indian Reservation near Tok, had pleaded guilty to four violations of the Lacey Act, which makes it illegal to transport fish or wildlife taken illegally across state lines. He was sentenced Jan. 5 in Fairbanks Federal Court.

As part of his plea agreement, Burwell forfeited a Piper Super Cub that was used for the illegal hunts through his business, Ram Creek Outfitters.

Corky Roberts, a special agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said Burwell was convicted of sending out nonresident sheep hunters -- both of whom killed sheep -- with an unregistered assistant guide; failing to report the accidental killing of a sheep by another nonresident hunter; and allowing an unguided out-of-state hunter to kill a grizzly bear. It is illegal for nonresidents to hunt Dall sheep or grizzly bear without a licensed guide.

According to Roberts, Burwell asked the sheep hunter who had accidentally killed more than one sheep to pay him more money. Burwell told the hunter that he could have used the sheep for another hunter the following year.

''Not a smooth move,'' Roberts said.

Roberts said the double killing was an accident. The hunter had shot at a specific ram in a group running up a hill as instructed by the guide. The guide then instructed the hunter to shoot a second time at the same ram but he hit a different animal.

''It was clearly an accident,'' Roberts said. ''He basically could have walked away with a minor infraction if he had reported it.''

Roberts also said Burwell charged the unguided hunter who shot the grizzly bear for a trophy fee even though the bear wasn't an especially big bear.

Roberts said Burwell attempted to hide his Super Cub in Montana, where he lived before moving to Alaska about five years ago.

Alaska officials decline the plane and the Montana Division of Fish, Wildlife and Parks will use it for enforcement purposes.

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