Troopers: Sitka man lied about bear killing to keep hide

Michelle Theriault Boots

A Sitka man is charged with shooting a brown bear in self-defense and then lying about it to wildlife officials so he could keep his kill.

Alaska Wildlife Troopers say that on Oct. 11, 2009 Patrick Hughes, 49, shot and killed a brown bear that charged him at Katlian Bay, near Sitka.

"Hughes later obtained a brown bear tag and permit after the fact, and provided false information to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in regards to the circumstances around which the bear was taken and the date it had been harvested on," troopers wrote in a dispatch posted online Sunday. "This was done so that Hughes could retain the bear."

Troopers served Hughes with a court summons on Saturday, according to the dispatch.

Under Alaska law, animals killed in defense of life and property can't be kept for personal use.

"When you kill a bear in defense of life and property you have to notify Fish and Game and turn everything in," said Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen.

Authorities first learned of the allegations against Hughes through a "wildlife safeguard complaint," which allows people to anonymously call in tips to a hotline number, according to wildlife troopers.

It's not clear when the complaint came in or why Hughes is being cited now, more than four years after the incident.

Hughes faces charges of failing to report a defense of life and property kill, two counts of unsworn falsification, and one count of unlawful possession.

Reach Michelle Theriault Boots at or 257-4344.