A Soldotna big-game guide convicted of illegally killing wolves while working with the state on a predator control program near McGrath has been ordered to forfeit his guiding license for five years, officials said Friday.
David Haeg, 39, was also sentenced to 35 days in jail, fined $6,000 and ordered to forfeit his plane to the government. But those and other penalties -- everything but the loss of his license -- have been put on hold by the court pending an appeal, according to Mark Morones, a spokesman for the state Department of Law.
The sentence, handed down Thursday in McGrath, stems from a March 2004 investigation in the areas of the Swift, Stony and Big rivers. The Alaska State Troopers found that Haeg killed nine wolves in the area by shooting them from his aircraft and then falsely reported the location of the killings to state wildlife officials who had hired him to kill the animals only within a prescribed zone.
A McGrath jury in July found Haeg guilty of five counts of knowingly taking nine wolves the same day he was airborne, two counts of unlawful possession of illegally taken game, one count of unsworn falsification and one count of trapping wolverines during a closed season.
The total sentence handed down this week was 570 days with 535 suspended and a $19,500 fine with $13,500 suspended, Morones said.
Haeg was also placed on probation for seven years and ordered to pay restitution of $4,500 for the illegally taken wolves. The court said he had to turn over the hides of the animals, the guns used to kill them and the airplane involved -- a Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser, according to Morones.
Efforts to contact Haeg on Friday for comment were unsuccessful.
In an unrelated case, Haeg's guiding service, Dave Haeg's Alaskan Hunts, was also involved in a fatal hunting accident in August near Anchorage that killed a Pennsylvania man.
According to troopers, Haeg and an assistant took the East Coast client on a bear hunt across Cook Inlet. The Pennsylvania man shot and wounded a bear, troopers said, but did not kill it. Haeg told his assistant to shoot the animal again. But just as the assistant fired, the Pennsylvania man stood up in the path of the bullet. He was shot in the head and died at the scene.
The shooting was deemed an accident and no charges were filed, troopers spokesman Tim DeSpain said Friday.
Reporter Ta Brant can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.