One Washington state man has been fined more than $22,000 and Alaska Wildlife Troopers have an arrest warrant for another man after a hunt last fall in which they illegally killed brown bear, caribou, moose and Dall sheep, troopers said Wednesday.
"This is actually a very serious case," trooper investigator Robert Welch said. "It was a clear and deliberate attempt to go after multiple animals illegally."
Carson Kemmer, 24, pleaded no contest Friday to two counts of taking brown bear and Dall sheep without a guide, two counts of taking big game without a tag, one count of failure to salvage the edible meat of a big game animal and one count of hunting without a license. He was originally charged with 22 hunting violations.
Troopers are looking for Kemmer's hunting companion, 53-year-old Joseph Querin, who faces 21 charges and failed to appear for his arraignment. A $10,000 warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Both men are from Ocean Park, Wash.
The investigation began when troopers received a tip from Washington fish and game officials that Querin may have been conducting illegal hunts in Alaska.
Troopers say the men were in Alaska to hunt big game between Aug. 29 and Sept. 16, 2006. Querin illegally obtained an Alaska resident hunting license and four tags, then transferred the tags to Kemmer, troopers said.
"People from out of state tend to feel a little intimidated by the regulations," Welch said. "That's not the case in this. (Querin) had lived in Alaska. He was very familiar with the regulations."
Kemmer, who didn't have a license, killed a caribou, sheep and brown bear along the Dalton Highway in the Brooks Range. He also shot a sub-legal bull moose near Turnagain Arm, troopers said.
Querin shot a second sub-legal sheep in the Brooks Range and did not have a tag for it, troopers said.
"He shot the animals for the experience of it but had no way to get it back to Washington," Welch said. "All the animals had some meat removed, but regulations require that they salvage all the edible meat."
By Alaska law, nonresident hunters must be accompanied by a guide or by a close relative who is an Alaska resident to take brown bear, sheep and goats. Neither man met those requirements, Welch said.
Washington wildlife officials serving a search warrant at Kemmer's home on Dec. 11, 2006, found an Alaska brown bear's hide and skull, along with the horns of a big-horn sheep that had been illegally killed in Washington, the Alaska troopers said in a written statement.
The following day, a search warrant served at a taxidermy shop in Oregon turned up an illegally hunted Dall sheep's horns and hide, troopers said.
As part of his plea agreement, Kemmer was sentenced to 440 days in prison, fined $50,000 and ordered to pay nearly $6,000 in restitution. The prison time and $27,500 of the fines were suspended but can be re-imposed if Kemmer violates Alaska wildlife laws during a five-year probation period.
Querin is wanted on charges including unlawful possession of big game, unsworn falsification, nonresident hunting without a guide, and multiple license and tag violations.
A message left for Kemmer in Washington was not immediately returned. Querin did not have a listed phone number.
Find James Halpin online at adn.com/contact/jhalpin or call him at 257-4589.