Crime & Courts

Reality TV’s ‘Bear Whisperer’ accused of illegally killing bears in Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park

Blaine Anthony

The star of a reality television series called “The Bear Whisperer” faces federal criminal charges that accuse him of illegally hunting black bears in Kenai Fjords National Park and lying to state officials about where he killed one.

Harvey Neil Anthony, a 55-year-old Maine man, goes by the name Blaine Anthony in the television series he also produces.

Federal prosecutors on Friday charged Anthony with two misdemeanor counts of violating the Lacey Act. The law makes it a federal crime to break the wildlife laws of any state, tribe or foreign country, and then move or trade the wildlife across U.S. borders.

“The Bear Whisperer” first aired in 2011 and is a hunting show that focuses on Anthony’s interactions with animals. The show aired on the Sportsman Channel and Pursuit Channel. In several episodes, Anthony worked with state wildlife biologists in Maine to enter bear dens and tag bears with tracking devices, ostensibly to help researchers monitor the population.

The show’s website was unavailable Wednesday and showed a message saying it was under construction.

Kenai Fjords National Park covers nearly 670,000 acres on the Kenai Peninsula west of Seward. Hunting is not allowed in the park.

Anthony participated in at least eight black bear hunting trips on the Kenai Peninsula between 2011 and 2019, according to the federal charges filed against him in U.S. District Court in Anchorage. A camera crew from Nature Productions, which Anthony owns, accompanied him on those trips, the criminal complaint says. There was also another person, whom prosecutors did not identify but described as an Alaskan who operated a boat.

During a trip in May 2017, Anthony shot and then transported the dead bear from Pilot Harbor, an area inside Kenai Fjords National Park, to Homer in the boat, according to the complaint. Footage from that hunt later aired on “The Bear Whisperer,” authorities say.

Anthony then filed a false sealing certificate with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game that claimed he shot the bear in Berger Bay, the complaint said. The bay is located on Nuka Island and is about 19 miles from the area where prosecutors said the animal was actually killed.

A state wildlife biologist for the area did not immediately respond for a request for more information Wednesday.

Anthony had the bear taxidermied and it was later transported to Maine, authorities say.

The complaint says footage from Anthony’s 2015 and 2017 trips to Alaska were included in his show and two black bears were seen being killed on park lands.

It wasn’t clear from the charging documents how investigators determined the bears were killed inside the park. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska did not immediately respond to a message about the case.

A spokeswoman for Kenai Fjords National Park declined to comment, citing the ongoing court case.

Anthony is scheduled to appear for a virtual arraignment hearing next month. A message left for Nature Productions was not immediately returned Wednesday.

The charges filed in Anchorage don’t identify the attorney representing Anthony.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, focusing on breaking news. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota and previously helped cover the Nebraska Legislature for The Associated Press. Contact her at twilliams@adn.com.

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