Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner has owned up to illegally hunting a grizzly bear, and now he’ll pay the price.
This week, the 30-year-old Stoner pleaded guilty to hunting without a license in British Columbia, which means that’ll be banned from hunting for three years and have to pay a $10,000 fine. The charges stemmed from a 2013 hunt in which Stoner killed a grizzly bear, then posted a photo of himself holding the animal’s severed head online.
There’s some controversy over the identity of the bear that was killed:
The case first gained media attention when graphic photos were published of Stoner holding up a bear’s severed head. First Nations and environmentalists claimed the animal was Cheeky, a star tourist attraction in B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest.
But after he was charged, Stoner, 30, requested a DNA test on the bear. The B.C. Conservation Officer Service conducted the tests and determined the animal was 18 years old, not the 5-year-old Cheeky, Stern told the court.
Outside the court, representatives of the area First Nations and a conservation group still maintained that the deceased bear was Cheeky. They said they may have been mistaken on the popular bear’s age, noting guardians had witnessed Stoner interact with Cheeky within hours before the kill.
Although Stoner, who has been hunting since he was 10, is likely disappointed with the three-year ban, it’s not so bad considering it could have been a lot worse. Four other charges — including knowingly making a false statement to obtain a hunting license, hunting out of season, and unlawfully possessing dead wildlife — were dropped with the guilty plea.
The main issue regarding the illegal hunt is that Stoner, who was a member of the Minnesota Wild at the time, wasn’t considered a B.C. resident (despite owning a home there) because he lived in Minnesota during the NHL season. Therefor, he wasn’t able to properly qualify for the hunt, and here we are.
(Via Times Colonist)