Wasilla men caught on video shooting bear and 'shrieking newborn cubs' in den, AST says

Published: Aug. 8, 2018 at 11:02 AM AKDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Two men have been charged with a number of crimes after authorities say they were recorded killing a black bear sow and two newborn cubs and then lying to officials about it, not realizing the killing had been reportedly caught on camera.

The "poaching incident," Alaska State Troopers reported Wednesday, dates back to April 14 of this year. Then, Andrew Renner, 41, of Wasilla, and Owen Renner, 18, also of Wasilla, were hunting on Esther Island in Prince William Sound.

According to troopers, the Renners shot and killed a black bear sow along with her two small cubs. Those bears, authorities said in a report, were part of a bear study being conducted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game as well as US Forest Service.

The sow was collared and a motion-activated camera was reportedly set up by researchers at the den. That camera was set to record audio and video and troopers said it captured the entire incident.

"The video shows A. Renner and O. Renner skiing up to the den and then O. Renner firing two shots at the denning sow. A. Renner then kills the shrieking newborn bear cubs and discards their bodies away from the den," AST wrote in its report.

Two days after the shooting, the two men were seen returning to the site, picking up the spent shells, and disposing of the dead bear cubs.

According to troopers, Andrew Renner then brought the sow bear skin to ADF&G in Palmer, saying he killed the bear near Granite Bay in Prince William Sound. He told investigators that he never saw any cubs.

Troopers confiscated the vessel, vehicle, and hunting rifles used in the hunting and transportation of the bears as part of the investigation.

Both men have been charged with unlawfully taking female bear with cubs, two charges of unlawfully taking cubs, and possessing and transporting illegally taken game. Additionally, Andrew Renner was charged with tampering with evidence, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and second degree falsification.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story stated that Owen Renner was charged with tampering with evidence. Troopers have since updated their report to show that only Andrew Renner was charged with tampering, however both were charged with illegal hunting of the mother bear with cubs, of killing the cubs themselves, and possessing and transporting the illegally taken bears.