FAIRBANKS (AP) A former Clear Air Force Station resident will pay a $1,000 fine for crawling into the den of a black bear sow and cubs and fatally shooting the sow last year.
Allan R. Fiel, 37, pleaded no contest to one count of taking a black bear with cubs in exchange for the dismissal of three other misdemeanor hunting violations.
Fiel must pay the fine within 30 days plus an additional $50 surcharge within 10 days. His privilege to hunt in Alaska is suspended for three years, though Fiel's lawyer said his client has promised to never hunt in the state again.
Fiel has been out of state with the Air Force since charges were filed against him last August. He participated in a court hearing Thursday by teleconference from Germany. A warrant had been issued for his arrest, but Magistrate Ron Smith nixed the warrant during the hearing.
The bear was killed Feb. 16, 2001, in the Minto Flats State Game Refuge.
According to a criminal complaint filed in support of the charges, Fiel used a flashlight when he crawled into a rock crevice the bear and her cubs were using for a den. He shot the bear with a handgun. The investigator who reviewed the case never determined how many cubs the sow had, but they were all presumed dead.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists became suspicious of Fiel, according to the complaint, when he brought the hide to a department office to be sealed. The biologists observed several signs that the bear had recently been nursing and noted that black bear cubs are usually born in January, the complaint states.
The den where the bear was shot ended up being more than 80 miles from the location Fiel listed on the sealing document for the kill, according to the complaint.
It took Alaska State Troopers Division of Fish and Wildlife Protection more than six months to investigate the incident before filing charges.
Troopers said it is legal to kill black bears year-round in the Fairbanks area, but not sows with cubs or the cubs themselves.
Hunters can also kill bears in a den, but not cubs or sows with cubs and not if an artificial light is used.
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