Hunters ordered to pay fines, apologize for ANWR bear kill

Casey Grove

A Michigan mother and son who shot a grizzly bear the day before hunting season in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in 2009 have been sentenced to pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines.

They were also ordered apologize to an international hunting group that gave one of them an ethics award.

Mark Peyerk, 40, of Mio, and his mother Charlotte Peyerk, 66, of Shelby Township, pleaded guilty in September to killing the grizzly out of season, falsifying records, and transporting the illegally taken game out of Alaska.

The Peyerks were on a guided hunt in ANWR when they spotted a grizzly near camp on Aug. 9, 2009, one day before hunting season began there, according to the plea agreement. The Peyerks and others in camp, including the guides, decided they could shoot the bear and claim it had happened the next day, according to court documents.

Mark Peyerk shot the bear, and before taking pictures of it, he and Charlotte changed the time and date settings on their digital camera so the date on the photos would be one day later, according to court documents.

With the guides' help, the Peyerks took the bear to Fairbanks and later had it shipped to a taxidermist in the Lower 48 who provided Mark with a full-sized mounted bear trophy. The mother and son also sent statements to the Safari Club International to register the kill, according to the plea agreement.

The Safari Club awarded Charlotte its Diana Award for ethics in hunting, federal prosecutors said in a written statement.

In handing down the sentence Monday, a judge ordered the Peyerks to each pay a $20,000 fine, with additional community service payments to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation of $10,000 for Mark and $5,000 for Charlotte. The Peyerks must also send a letter of apology to the Safari Club International, and Charlotte was ordered to offer to return the award. They received probation -- five years for Mark, four for Charlotte -- during which they are prohibited from hunting.

As for the guiding service, Fair Chase Hunts, more than a dozen employees and clients were already convicted and sentenced for various hunting crimes, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

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