A father and son have been charged with several crimes after they allegedly shot a mother bear and her crying newborn twins inside their Alaska den, authorities said.
The men’s actions were captured on a motion-activated video camera installed by wildlife officials who were tracking the mother bear.
Owen Renner, 18, was seen on the video shooting the mother black bear in April on Esther Island in Prince William Sound, said police. According to a sworn summary of events by police that was filed in court, the “cubs begin shrieking in the den after the initial shots are fired,” The Anchorage Daily News reported Wednesday.
His father, Andrew Renner, 41, then took “aim through his rifle scope only feet away and fires several more shots, killing the newborn bear cubs,” per the court documents. He was also seen on video saying: ‘It doesn’t matter. Bear down,’” authorities said.
It’s illegal to kill a mother bear with cubs in most areas of Alaska, including where the sow and her newborns were slain.
After the Renners discovered the mother bear was wearing a tracking collar, they returned to the den to collect their gun shells and dispose of the cubs’ bodies, officials said. They later turned in the mother’s collar and skin to authorities but claimed they had shot the sow at a different location and saw no cubs with her, according to a statement from the Alaska State Troopers.
Other clips showed the men skinning and butchering the sow, and Owen Renner declaring, “They’ll never be able to link it to us,” authorities said.
The mother bear had been part of a three-year study by the U.S. Forest Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The study was launched due to concerns about the declining black bear population in the area.
The men now face charges of unlawfully taking a female bear with cubs, killing two bear cubs and illegally possessing and transporting three illegally hunted bears. Andrew Renner was also charged with tampering with evidence, which is a felony, filing false documentation and contributing to the delinquency of a minor (his son was 17 at the time of the shooting), the Dispatch reported.