'Hissy fit' over hunting rules results in $500 fine, probation for Bethel man

A federal magistrate on Friday fined a Bethel man $500 and put him on probation for a year after he pleaded guilty to using the Fish and Wildlife Service logo on a letter he mailed to villages in the area of the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge. The Anchorage Press provides the background to the case: John Jens Owens had become "spitting mad" at refuge officials after they published an item in the Delta Discovery newspaper reminding waterfowl  hunters about refuge regulations. He then devised a plan to rile up other hunters by embellishing the truth.

[Owens] went to the Internet and copied the official seal of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. He dummied-up a phony Fish & Wildlife letterhead and wrote a letter of his own. He sent his letter out to area villages. He warned hunters that the agency was going to “make sure all hunter have hunting licenses and duck stamps” and would “confiscate any illegal catch of waterfowl or eggs.” Owens also tried to scare subsistence hunters into believing they would have their shotguns confiscated if they failed to follow the rules he had made up on the spot.

Besides the fine and probation, Owens will have to provide an announcement to the Bethel media acknowledging his attempted deception. The Press offers this advice to anyone feeling a "hissy fit" coming on after reading something infuriating in the newspaper: "Count to 10, then sit down and write a letter to the editor explaining your point of view. ... If he had done that three years ago he could have avoided a whole lot of hassle."