An Anaheim Ducks defenceman involved in the hunting of a grizzly bear has been charged.
A picture of Clayton Stoner surfaced in September of him holding the head of a dead grizzly bear in British Columbia during a hunt in May 2013, which got the attention of many people.
On January 27th Stoner was found guilty of hunting a grizzly bear without a license. The hockey player was fined under the BC Wildlife Act $4,000.00, ordered to pay $6,000.00 to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, and he was given a three year hunting prohibition.
A forfeiture order has also been made for all wildlife parts with the recommendation that they get returned to the local First Nation communities.
After the initial story broke in September a bear advocacy group called for Stoner to apologize for killing the bear. A number of protest were also organized in Vancouver and Anaheim, California.
On Thursday Stoner’s father Ken posted a Facebook essay about the incident.
He said he decided to go public with the real story behind the bear hunt.
“When we met Robert Johnson the First Nation watchman in Kwatna (an extremely remote part of the province) he told us he could not stop us from hunting there but asked that we respect the land. The entire time we were there we were under the impression Robert had befriended us, he ate with us, he drank with us, and he shared stories with us. He was very helpful with his directions on how to get up the river to where we got the bear.”
The father said that once they had killed the bear they brought it back to where they were staying and they asked Johnson if he had seen that type of bear before, to which Stoner said Johnson said he had not.
However the bear is said to be known as “Cheeky” to local field technicians.
Stoner denies that it was the same bear.
“To set the record straight the head and paws were not severed, the bear was not 5 year old Cheeky, it was not shot with a shotgun. This was a very large 18 year old male, the exact type of bear the BC Wildlife Service asks you to harvest. And when Robert was supposedly in his tent crying over the loss of Cheeky he was actually on our boat drinking and did so until 3-4am.”
The hockey player who killed the bear was not a legal resident of British Columbia. Even though he was home in the province, raised in the province, and owned a home in B.C., under the Wildlife Act he fell a few days short of the required amount of days to be classified as a resident, his father said.
“Our Vancouver Island born and raised son grew up hunting and fishing. He lives between Canada and the US because of his seasonal job. He shot a legal bear, in legal season, in a legal area with a licence that he incorrectly assumed he was qualified for. He is only guilty of a miscalculation of the days he lived outside Canada that year.”
Even though Stoner shared his side of the story that will not stop the $10,000 penalty that his son now faces.