FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A man from Clear Air Force Station has been charged with crawling into the den of a black bear sow and cubs last winter and fatally shooting the sow with a handgun.
Allan R. Fiel, 36, is charged with killing the bear Feb. 16 in the Minto Flats State Game Refuge, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday in Fairbanks District Court.
It took the Alaska State Troopers' Division of Fish and Wildlife Protection more than six months to learn enough details to charge Fiel, Trooper Justin Lindell told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists became suspicious when Fiel brought the bear hide to the department to be sealed on Feb. 25 and wrote on the sealing documents that he had killed the bear near an area of Hess Creek northeast of Minto Flats, the complaint states.
Biologists noticed the sow showed several signs of recently nursing cubs and also noted that black bear cubs are usually born in January, according to the complaint.
Lindell said it's legal for hunters to kill black bears year-round in the Fairbanks area but not sows with cubs or the cubs themselves.
According to the complaint, Lindell's investigation revealed that Fiel noticed a rock crevice that ''raised his curiosity'' and he located the bear den. The den was about 80 miles from where Fiel stated on sealing documents that he killed the bear, according to the complaint.
The complaint states he used a flashlight to find the bear in the den, a practice that is against state hunting regulations.
Lindell said it is unclear how many cubs were with the sow. The cubs were never located and are presumed dead.
Fiel is charged with one count each of killing a bear with cubs, unlawful possession or transportation of the bear, unlawful use of artificial light and making a false statement on the sealing document.
''He's denied everything and he has consulted a lawyer,'' Lindell said. Fiel could not be reached for comment.
Lindell said it is legal for a hunter to enter a bear den to kill the animal but not if it's a cub or sow with cubs and not if a flashlight or other artificial light is used. ''It's not a common practice,'' he said. ''People don't normally hunt that way.''
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