Alaska troopers said Wednesday that a father and son are facing criminal charges for fatally shooting a black bear and her two newborn cubs in a den, then attempting to conceal their crimes.
Andrew Renner, 41 of Palmer, and Owen Renner, 18, are accused of killing bears in Esther Island that were part of a U.S. Forest Service and Alaska Department of Fish and Game study. As a result, troopers said the men’s actions were caught on a motion-activated camera.
Cameras reportedly filmed the pair skiing up to the den and Owen firing two shots at the mother bear with his rifle.
After killing the cub, “Andrew Renner is captured on video saying, ‘It doesn’t matter. Bear down,'” according to the prosecutor’s report obtained by the Anchorage Daily News.
Troopers said Andrew then shot and killed the bear’s “shrieking” cubs before discarding their bodies away from the den.
According to documents obtained by the newspaper, Owen, then 17, was recorded saying that they removed the mother bear’s collar, which was placed on her for the agency study. The pair butchered the mother bear and put the meat in game bags before skiing away, the newspaper reported.
“We’re gonna skin it that way,” the father allegedly said while pointing away from the den.
The son allegedly responded, “They’ll never be able to link it to us.”
The father and son are accused of returning to the den two days later to retrieve the collar and bullet shells and to dispose of the cubs’ carcasses. One of the men is reportedly caught saying that they were going into the den to make sure there are no remains.
Black bear hunting is legal in the area from September to June. The alleged poaching incident occurred in April. It’s also illegal in most areas of Alaska to kill bear cubs or a mother bear with her cubs
Troopers reviewed the footage after the U.S. Forest Service reported the bears’ deaths on April 23. It was April 30 when Andrew took the mother bear’s skin and collar to Fish and Game in Palmer. Though his son was filmed shooting the mother bear, troopers said Andrew claimed he realized the mother had teats after shooting her at Granite Bay.
Andrew also claimed he didn’t see any sign of the mother bear’s cubs, according to troopers.
The pair was charged with unlawful take of a female bear with cubs, unlawful take of bear cubs, and the possession and transportation of illegally taken game. The Alaska father was also charged with tampering with physical evidence, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and second-degree unsworn falsification.
[Featured image: Pixabay]