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Crime & Courts

Idaho man faces federal charges after allegedly leading illegal bear hunts in Noatak preserve

  • Author: Nicole Blanchard, The Idaho Statesman
  • Updated: March 25, 2019
  • Published March 25, 2019

An Idaho man faces multiple felony charges after officials say he falsified hunting documents when hunting grizzly bears in Alaska, according to court documents.

Paul Silvas, 51, is charged with four violations of the Lacey Act, a federal law regulating trade and transportation of wildlife. The resident of Nampa, Idaho, was indicted by a grand jury on Thursday.

In order to hunt grizzly bears in Alaska, out-of-state residents must receive permits and tags from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and be accompanied by either a licensed big game guide or “a relative ... within and including the second degree of kindred.”

According to the indictment, Silvas allegedly led four individuals on grizzly hunts in the Noatak National Preserve — one from Idaho and three from Utah — in 2013 and 2014. Silvas is not a licensed big game guide in Alaska, and his clients did not secure appropriate big game tags, the documents say.

The indictment alleges Silvas “filed false ... hunt records in order to conceal the illegal take of game and to conceal an illegally guided hunt.” Specifically, according to the document, Silvas falsely told officials he was related to another Alaska resident.

The four individuals who Silvas led on hunts have not been charged.

Silvas has no prior wildlife-related crimes in Idaho or Alaska, according to online court records. It wasn’t immediately clear how he knew the clients.

A news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Alaska, said Silvas faces up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines for each of the four counts.